Ohio secretary of state Kenneth Blackwell has certified a November 2 ballot that includes a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Under Ohio election law, Blackwell was required to certify the ballot's form to 88 county boards of elections on Wednesday. However, Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo said the certification deadline was technical and that if the same-sex marriage amendment does not qualify, it will be removed from the ballot. "While candidates and issues can be removed from the ballot, they cannot be placed on the ballot after September 8," he said.
State officials have not yet determined if backers of the constitutional amendment, which would be called Issue 1, have enough signatures of registered voters to qualify for the ballot. Cincinnati-based Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage appeared to fall about 47,000 signatures short of the 322,899 needed. The group, under law, will have 10 extra days to gather more.
Issue 1 is undergoing a legal challenge. Courts in Williams and Mercer counties heard the first of about 40 legal challenges Wednesday filed by Ohioans Protecting the Constitution, a coalition primarily of gay groups opposing the same-sex marriage ban. Protests have also been filed in Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Hamilton counties.