Republican Jim Petro, Ohio's former attorney general and state auditor, is expected to endorse a 2014 Ohio ballot measure that would permit same-sex marriages in the state.
Republican Jim Petro, Ohio’s former attorney general and state auditor, is expected to endorse a 2014 Ohio ballot measure that would permit same-sex marriages in the state.
Petro, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006, is scheduled to appear at a Columbus news conference Monday with officials of FreedomOhio, the group that wants to overturn Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Ian James, co-founder of FreedomOhio, said yesterday that his group has decided to put the ballot question to Ohio voters on the general election ballot next year. FreedomOhio had considered waiting until the 2016 presidential election, but the organization’s executive committee voted this month to place it on next year’s ballot.
Freedom Ohio must submit 385,245 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters on petitions by July 3, 2014, to qualify for next year’s general election ballot. The signatures must come from at least 44 counties.
“We’ll definitely have enough signatures to qualify from at least 50 counties,” James said.
If passed, Freedom Ohio’s initiative effectively would cancel the 2004 constitutional amendment passed by Ohio voters to prohibit gay marriage in the state.
In an interview with The Dispatch this year, Petro said he had rethought his opposition to gay marriage after his daughter, Corbin, legally married Jessica Clare Gelman last year in Massachusetts. Corbin is chief operating officer of the Massachusetts Department of Medicaid in Boston and Jessica is vice president of the Kraft Sports Group, which owns the New England Patriots.
Petro’s expected endorsement of an initiative to permit same-sex marriage in the state would come on the heels of another high-profile Ohio Republican reversing his opposition to gay marriage. In March, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman changed his position after learning that his son, Will, a junior at Yale University, is gay.