An Ohio state appeals court on Monday rejected a request to throw out petitions seeking to put a proposed constitutional ban of same-sex marriage on the state ballot. The two-sentence judgment from a three-judge panel in Franklin County said opponents of the proposal did not "demonstrate their right" to get a court order rejecting the petitions. Alan Melamed, head of the campaign to stop the amendment, said the group had not yet decided whether to appeal.
Amendment opponents sued on Wednesday, saying Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell should never have submitted petition signatures to the 88 county elections boards for validation because the forms violate Ohio law by failing to include a summary of the amendment's intent. Instead, the petitions include only the 55-word proposed amendment as it would appear on the ballot. "Even though this initiative is short, it is filled in its second sentence with incredible ambiguities," said John P. Gilligan, lead attorney for the amendment opponents.
Donald Brey, special counsel for Blackwell, said the secretary of state's office followed the Ohio constitution, which does not require the summary, and that an earlier court ruling held that the petition language was sufficient. The opponents also have questioned the validity of petition signatures in
about 40 counties, but several local courts have refused to accept the protests because the election is less than 50 days away.
Supporters of the ban submitted 144,000 additional signatures last week after Blackwell notified them they had fallen short by more than 42,000. Opponents have filed legal challenges to the first batch of signatures in about 40 counties.