A former Ohio attorney general — a Republican — helped launch a marriage equality initiative Monday to overturn the state's ban on same-sex marriage, reports the Columbus Dispatch.
Jim Petro, a former attorney general and state auditor who ran for Governor in 2006, cited his legally married lesbian daughter as part of the reason for his support to put marriage equality before Ohio voters in 2014.
When asked if he supported marriage equality, Petro told reporters Monday he "quickly and without hesitation said, 'I'm all for it.' "
He also said equality is good for business. Ohio's economic wellbeing "will depend on its welcoming nature," Petro said at the press conference. "More and more public officials will recognize the need for true equality."
Petro formally announced his support at a press conference Monday hosted by Freedom Ohio, a statewide LGBT group that hopes to gather the required 385,245 signatures from registered Ohio voters in at least 44 of 88 counties by July 3, 2014, to qualify for the ballot an initiative that would repeal the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, approved by voters in 2004.
The Dispatch reports some discord among statewide and national LGBT groups, however, which are divided on whether to try to overturn the marriage ban in 2014 or during the 2016 general elections. But advocates at Freedom Ohio are confident they've got the timing right.
"When we file these petitions and reach the ballot, everybody will be with us," Freedom Ohio cofounder Ian James told the Dispatch.
In March, Sen. Rob Portman, another Ohio Republican, became the first member of the Senate GOP to support marriage equality after learning that his college-aged son is gay.