Voice for Equality: Jennifer Brunner

Jennifer Brunner is the Ohio Secretary of State and has been a strong advocate for individual rights for decades.

On June 10, 2009, she wrote an Op-ed voicing her longtime support for marriage equality: “In 1988, I applied for an appointment to the City Council of Columbus, Ohio. I was not chosen, but I chuckle when I think of the calls I received to vet me for the post. One of them was from the leader of a very conservative sect of our local Democratic party. He wanted to know if I supported legislation being considered by city council to allow domestic partnership benefits. I told him that if same-sex couples were permitted to be married, we wouldn't need such special legislation, and that I would prefer to see that. I don't think that was the answer he was looking for or expected.”

Jennifer was elected Ohio’s first woman Secretary of State in 2006, in the wake of Ohio's troubled 2004 election process, pledging elections that were free, fair, open and honest. During the contentious 2008 presidential election in which Ohio was a key battleground state, Jennifer defended Ohioans' voting rights in numerous cases in both state and federal court, eventually winning in the United States Supreme Court to protect voters and their ballots from being targeted for election challenges by partisan operatives. Her achievement in reforming Ohio's election system earned her a Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

As an Ohioan, I am proud to claim Jennifer Brunner as a Voice for Equality!

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A Great Day for LGBT Equality in Ohio

Law Dork, 2.0
June 10, 2009
Both main Democratic candidates running in Ohio to replace Sen. George Voinovich — Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher — now support marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples. Way to go! In a state where, just 5 years ago, a constitutional amendment was passed prohibiting both marriage equality and even civil unions in Ohio, two statewide elected officials running for another statewide office support full marriage equality. Brunner, who has supported marriage equality since before today’s youngest voters were even born, published a piece in The Huffington Post on Wednesday titled, “What’s there to ‘Get’ about Marriage Equality?” On Thursday, Fisher announced that he had reversed his previous position and now supported marriage equality. [Link]

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What’s there to “Get” about Marriage Equality?

The Huffington Post
June 10, 2009
Jennifer Brunner, the Secretary of State of Ohio, writes:
...it is time for marriage equality to be available to all, straight or LGBT. We are a community, and in these times, we must support and depend on each other as people do in a real community. ... A good start is to recognize family in all the ways it emerges, for a stronger social fabric that will support us as we pursue the founding ideals of our country for years to come. Marriage equality's time is now.


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Ohio Church Protests State Marriage Ban

Akron Beacon Journal
January 30, 2009
Ministers at Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio, are protesting the state’s ban on marriage equality by refusing to sign any state marriage licenses until Ohio allows gay couples to wed. [Link]

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Cleveland council votes to enact domestic partner registry for gay, straight couples

The Plain Dealer
December 9, 2008
The registry, though nonbinding, could prompt employers, hospitals and other organizations to grant privileges typically reserved for married couples, advocates say. The registry also is a revenue booster and a symbolic gesture that Cleveland is gay-friendly. [Link]

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Ohio anti-marriage constitutional amendment back in court

Gay People's Chronicle
April 25, 2008
A court addresses whether the Ohio anti-marriage amendment will affect child custody, exemplifying the harmful scope of such discriminatory amendments. (Link)

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Marriage developments in NM, OH

The Bay Area Reporter
August 2, 2007
There were two significant developments in the marriage arena last week: in one, gay couples in yet another state have the option of getting married; in another, a state's ban on gay and lesbian couples' marriages has been stopped from destroying laws meant to help end domestic violence but it may have made the possibility of civil unions more difficult. [link]

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Top court must decide if unwed couples can be treated as spouses in domestic-violence cases

Middletown Journal
October 15, 2006
Two years ago, Democratic and Republican leaders urged Ohio voters to reject a discriminatory constitutional amendment. This year in December, the OH Supreme Court will hear State v. Carswell, a case that argues the state's 27-year-old domestic-violence law conflicts with the new marriage ban. [link]

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PRESS RELEASE: Anti-gay group attacks domestic violence law in court

People for the American Way
August 29, 2006

An ultraconservative group argue a that Ohio's domestic violence law—which covers all couples, married or not—can't be applied to unmarried heterosexual couples because of the state's new constitutional provision prohibiting the recognition of the marriages of same-sex couples and prohibiting the recognition of "a legal status" for any unmarried couples "that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage." [link]

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It’s all about relationships

Gay Peoples' Chronicle
May 26, 2006
"Republicans, Democrats, LGBT friends and foes alike told the citizen lobbyists that the most important thing to do to influence lawmakers is to develop relationships, and communicate often." [link]

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