Created on Thursday, 15 May 2014 Written by ANN SANNER, Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gay marriage supporters in Ohio delivered several thousand petitions to the state's attorney general Thursday urging him to stop his appeal of a federal judge's order on same-sex marriage.
The state is fighting Judge Timothy Black's ruling that orders Ohio to recognize gay marriages performed in other states. Most of the judge's April 14 ruling was put on hold pending the anticipated appeal.
The judge ruled that Ohio's refusal to recognize gay marriage is a violation of constitutional rights and is "unenforceable in all circumstances."
Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine has said that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that he will continue defending Ohio's voter-approved gay marriage ban, passed overwhelmingly in 2004.
The group Why Marriage Matters Ohio delivered over 6,000 signatures to DeWine's office Thursday, demanding he halt the appeal.
Campaign manager Michael Premo said appealing the ruling was a waste of taxpayer money and an injustice to Ohio families.
"All marriages should be treated equally under the law," Premo told reporters. "Your marriage license shouldn't become invalid once you cross some state line."
The attorney general's office declined comment on the petition delivery.
Backers of the Why Marriage Matters Ohio campaign include Equality Ohio and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, along with national organizations Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign.
Freedom to Marry recently announced it was spending $500,000 in Ohio to support the campaign's offices in Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo and Cleveland. The money also is being used to hire organizers and create television ads.
A Quinnipiac University poll in February found that Ohioans are closely split when it comes to gay marriage — with 50 percent of voters supporting it, while 44 percent are opposed.
Gay marriage is legal in 17 states and Washington, D.C. Judges have struck down bans in Arkansas, Idaho, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Virginia.