Petitioners may begin collecting signatures to place a constitutional amendment on the November 2 ballot that would require Ohio and local governments to recognize marriage as only a union between a man and a woman, the secretary of state's office said Thursday. Attorney general Jim Petro said the proposed ballot language "is a fair and truthful statement of the measure," and the Franklin County Board of Elections certified the petitioners had collected more than 100 valid signatures of registered voters needed to begin the petition drive. The push to add an amendment atop a state law outlawing gay marriages was prompted by this year's 4-3 decision by the Massachusetts supreme judicial court making gay marriage legal in that state as of May 17, backers said. Gay rights groups oppose the amendment. The petitioners must submit 322,899 valid signatures of registered voters--10% of the total vote in the 2002 election for governor--to Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell by August 4 to qualify for the November ballot, Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo said.