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4.2.04

Ohio Legislature Votes To Ban Same-Sex Unions

The Ohio Legislature gave final approval on Tuesday to one of the most sweeping bans on same-sex unions in the country, galvanized by court rulings in Canada and Massachusetts that have declared gay marriage to be legal.

... In approving the measure, the Republican-controlled Legislature rejected concerns raised by some of the state's largest corporations and colleges, including Ohio State University, that the ban would hurt the state's business image and undermine their ability to recruit skilled workers.

Supporters of the bill, which passed overwhelmingly in the House but on a closer vote in the Senate, argued that the measure was not meant to be discriminatory, but reflected their conviction — borne out by some polls — that most people wanted marriage defined in the traditional sense: as between a man and a woman. That desire has intensified, they said, in the months since courts in Massachusetts and Canada ruled that gays should be allowed to marry.


So their rationale is "we aren't discriminating, we're just respecting the will of the discriminatory people." Way to pass the buck.

I also find it interesting that the pro-gay argument was framed as a business issue, not a civil rights issue. On the one hand, that framing has the potential to be more effective given that Republicans are pro-business, so it may convince those with stronger libertarian and crony capitalist leanings, while giving rhetorical cover to those who already want to vote against the ban but don't want to anger their constituents. On the other hand, it doesn't squarely address the cultural question, implicitly ceding the point that ceteris paribus the traditional familiy is better, arguing that ceteris-not-paribus it's a sacrifice we should be willing to make.

This article also contains an interesting response to the argument that the Federal Marriage Amendment is a betrayal of conservative federalist principles. Apparently it's pro-gay people's fault for turning it into a federal case:

"The homosexual community has raised the issue and pushed it to the point that it has become a national issue," said State Senator William J. Knight, a Republican from Southern California who opposes gay marriage. "The issue is here to stay, until and unless the federal government addresses it."

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