Backers of same-sex marriage ban in Ohio feeling confident

Backers of a proposed Ohio constitutional ban on same-sex marriage have submitted about 144,000 more signatures to get the measure on the November 2 ballot, a state elections spokesman said on Saturday.

The backers have until September 27 to collect 42,321 petition signatures to get the total to the required 323,000, but they submitted the additional signatures Friday, said Carlo LoParo, spokesman for Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell. County boards of elections, where the signatures were collected, must still determine whether they are valid signatures of registered voters.

The proposal faced another legal challenge that was filed Friday in Columbus. A hearing into the petitions was to continue on Saturday, said Don McTigue, a lawyer representing Ohioans Protecting the Constitution, a gay-lesbian alliance opposing the referendum. McTigue said the proposal should be thrown out because backers did not include the required summary on the petition that was circulated.

The suit filed against Blackwell and county election boards in Cincinnati and Cleveland contends that the petition violated Ohio law because it did not contain the required amendment summary and was not certified by Atty. Gen. Jim Petro. The petition originally included a summary that said the amendment would ban "relationships comprised of three or more persons."

Judge Daniel T. Hogan of Franklin County common pleas court ruled earlier this year that the summary was "unfair and untruthful" and could mislead people signing the petition. As a result, the petitioners began circulating the proposal without the summary. David Langdon, the campaign's attorney, said his organization followed requirements of the Ohio constitution by including the title and text of the
proposed amendment.

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