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Defense of Marriage
Legislative Update
Melanie Elsey,
Ohio Roundtable Legislative Director
February 9th, 2004


VICTORY

On February 6th, 2004 Governor Bob Taft signed H.B. 272, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) into law. Governor Taft issued this press release after making Ohio the 38th state to pass DOMA legislation. Governor Taft's Press Release

Thanks so much for contacting your legislators!  It really does make a difference!


What is DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act)?

HB272 or DOMA will strengthen and clarify Ohio's statutory definition of marriage.   If DOMA does not pass, Ohio will run the risk of allowing the courts to impose their own eroded definitions of marriage.  The recent decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health has created a Constitutional crisis for every state under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  Ohio [like Massachusetts] is only one of 13 states without the protection of DOMA legislation.  Immediate action by the Ohio General Assembly is essential to protect the institution of marriage in our state!

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Provisions of HB272

1.  Sec. 3101.01(A) amendment: "A marriage may only be entered into by one man and one woman."  This language would be added to age requirements and restrictions on marrying a close relative.

2. Sec. 3101.01(C)(1): "Any marriage between persons of the same sex is against the strong public policy of this state.  Any marriage between persons of the same sex shall have no legal force or effect in this state…"

3. Sec. 3101.01(C)(2):  "Any marriage entered into by persons of the same sex in any other jurisdiction shall be considered and treated in all respects as having no legal force or effect in this state and shall not be recognized by this state."

4. Sec. 3101.01(C)(3): This section prohibits the specific statutory benefits of legal marriage to nonmarital relationships.  However, it states, "Nothing in division (C)(3) of this section prohibits the extension of specific benefits otherwise enjoyed by all persons, married or unmarried to nonmarital relationships."

For example, the ability to bequeath property by a will is a benefit enjoyed by all persons, married and unmarried.  This action would not be prohibited under HB272.  This bill would also not institute any prohibition over private companies from extending health care benefits to nonmarital relationships.   The bill is limited to "public acts, records, or judicial proceedings of this state."

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Status

Ohio House Bill 272 [HB272]: Ohio's Defense of Marriage legislation
Passed the Ohio House of Representatives:  73-23
Approved by Ohio Senate 18 -15
Signed by Governor Bob Taft on February 6th, 2004

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Reasons to support HB272

1. MASSACHUSETTS The U.S. Constitution [Article IV, Sec. 1] states, "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other State." 

Therefore, unless Ohio has a clear strong public policy on this issue, civil unions recognized in another state [e.g. Vermont or Massachusetts] would have to be recognized in Ohio.

2. CLARIFICATION Ohio Revised Code 3101.01(A) currently states, "Male persons of the age of eighteen years and female persons of the age of sixteen years…may be joined in marriage.."  It technically doesn't specify that they have to be joined to each other.  Amending this section to require that "a marriage may only be entered into by one man and one woman" will serve to clarify the intent and Ohio's historical commitment to the institution of marriage as a union between a man and woman as husband and wife.

3. JUDICIAL ACTIVISM In Lawrence v. Texas, this past summer a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court specified that that "Persons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes (i.e., 'marriage and family relationships'), just as heterosexual persons do." This opened the door for judicial activism and enticed the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to overstep their authority under the "separation of powers."

A complete copy of HB272:  http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/BillText125/125_HB_272_I_Y.html
[Note:  Underlined language represents a change to state law.]

More Information on DOMA Legislation

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Immediate Action is Needed

CONGRESS
1. Immediately contact your U.S. Congressman and U.S. Senator.  Urge their support for the Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  [HJR 56]  This will be the most effective way to reign in the courts from creating a destructive back door access to the institution of marriage.   

Find your U.S. Congressman:  http://www.house.gov/
Find your U.S. Senator:  http://www.senate.gov/

SHARE
2. Share this legislative alert with others.  It makes a difference when elected officials hear from their constituents!

CONTRIBUTE
3. Contribute through prayer and financial gifts. Your support can help reach more people and help make an impact in Ohio. Think about it. You were able to learn more about this issue and make a difference from another person's prayers and gift. Can you help us reach one more? click here to contribute

NOTE
Senate roll call on DOMA:

Yeas
Amstutz, Austria, Blessing, Carey, Coughlin, Randy Gardner, Harris, Hottinger, Jacobson, Jordan, Mumper, Nein, Padgett, Schuler, Schuring, Spada, Wachtmann, White

Nays
Armbruster, Brady, Dann, DiDonato, Fedor, Fingerhut, Robert Gardner, Goodman, Hagan, Mallory, Miller, Prentiss, Roberts, Stivers, Zurz

House roll call on DOMA:

Yeas
Aslanides, Blasdel, Book, Brinkman, Buehrer, Callender, Calvert, Carmichael, Cates, Cirelli, Clancy, Collier, Core, Daniels, DeBose, DeGeeter, DeWine, Distel, Domenick, Driehaus, Clyde Evans, Faber, Fessler, Flowers, Gibbs, Gilb, Grendell, Hagan, Hartnett, Harwood, Hoops, Householder, Hughes, Husted, Jolivette, Kearns, Key, Kilbane, Latta, Martin, McGregor, Niehaus, Oelslager, Olman, Thomas Patton, Peterson, Price, Raga, Raussen, Reidelbach, Reinhard, Schaffer, Schlichter, Schmidt, Schneider, Seaver, Seitz, Setzer, Sferra, Geoffrey Smith, Taylor, Trakas, Wagner, Walcher, Webster, White, Widener, Widowfield, Willamowski, Williams, Wilson, Wolpert, Young

Nays
Allen, Barrett, Beatty, Brown, Carano, Chandler, Hollister, Jerse, Koziura, Mason, Miller, Otterman, Sylvester Patton, Perry, Redfern, Skindell, Shirley Smith, Dan Stewart, Strahorn, Sykes, Ujvagi, Woodard, Yates

Not voting:
Boccieri, David Evans, Jimmy Stewart,

State Representative Boccieri is in the military reserves and was recently called to serve overseas.  If your State Representative did not vote, you may contact the House Clerk's office to inquire if he was present and/or excused from the vote. House Rule #56 states, "Every member present when the question is put shall vote unless excused by the House...A request to be excused shall be accompanied by a brief written statement of the reasons for making such request, which shall be acted upon by the House without debate."

Ohio House Clerk:  614-466-3357
If your Representative was present, but not "excused" you may want to contact him and ask why he didn't vote.

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