Ohio & Gay Marriage - Senator Brown's Insight

by Justin Weller, Editor in Chief

WASHINGTON- The supreme court recently decided not to decide.  The issue of gay marriage has been heating up for awhile and people were anxiously awaiting the supreme courts decision.  Some may have been disappointed, but others pleased.  According to The Wall Street Journal, by not making a decision, the supreme court "...effectively expanded the right of gay marriage to more than half the nation Monday as it let stand lower-court rulings that struck down bans in five states."

An issue that has been sweeping the nation and growing year by year, do we let people of the same-sex legally marry?  Well, depending on where you are in the country the answer may vary.  Some states allow regular marriage to take place for gay couples, others only allow civil unions, then you have those that don't allow civil unions, but have registries, like Ohio.  Other states simply do not allow any form recognition.

In Cincinnati, Ohio, gay couples are allowed to register with a local agency that provides them with benefits through participating corporations.  This may seem like a far cry from civil unions, but residence of Cincinnati see it as a step in the right direction.  While the opposition for marriage exists, there is not nearly as much hesitation for civil unions.

"We see gay marriage as a violation of a church tradition," said a local Cincinnati resident. "That is not to say that I don't think they should be granted the same rights.  I am not here to judge, but there is suppose to be a separation of church and state.  I think that's where this comes in."

A slightly different approach to the debate is that of Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.  We asked for his official comment to the supreme courts decision and he told TrueChat Broadcast Inc., "While the Supreme Court’s decision this week is a major step in the right direction toward universal marriage equality, 26 states – including Ohio – still prohibit same-sex couples this basic right.  Practicing family values is about loving all of God's children. That’s why I voted against DOMA in 1996 and continue to fight for full equality for all Ohioans, regardless of whom they love or where they live."

DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) passed the House by a vote of 342-67 and the Senate by a vote of 85–14.  It was signed into law on September 21, 1996 by President Bill Clinton.  At the time, even staunch democrats voted for the bill, arguing that same-sex couples should have something close to a traditional marriage, but not the equivalent.

Senator Brown was in the minority that voted against it.  Perhaps Senator Brown was ahead of his time and was doing the right thing, even if it wasn't popular.  Then again, perhaps he was doing the wrong thing with such a large majority in favor of the act at the time.  Maybe they knew what was best or maybe they didn't.  One thing is for sure.  This issue is not over yet.