Ohio

STATUS:

Anti-relationship recognition constitutional amendment; on April 28, 2015, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments on the freedom to marry in Ohio. A ruling is expected later this summer. Learn all about the freedom to marry at the Supreme Court here.

A separate decision, stayed but not yet appealed, found that Ohio must respect the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states. A third case, filed in April 2014, seeks the freedom to marry in Ohio.

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

On April 28, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments on the freedom to marry in Ohio, with a ruling expected late summer 2015.

The United States Supreme Court granted review in the cases Obergefell v. Hodges and Henry v. Himes on January 16, 2015. The review was granted after the 6th Circuit ruled to uphold the marriage ban in Ohio in an out-of-step ruling on November 6, 2014.

HISTORY:

In 2004, anti-gay forces in Ohio pushed through State Issue 1, a constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage - and bars them from attaining any other form of family status in the state.

Some cities in Ohio - including Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati - offer domestic partnership registries for same-sex couples, which provide some of the protections that the freedom to marry affords.

Marriage supporters from across the state have joined together to form Why Marriage Matters Ohio, a public education campaign designed to begin the conversation about the freedom to marry for all loving, committed couples in the state. Take the pledge with Why Marriage Matters Ohio HERE.

Part of the conversation about marriage in Ohio stems from a December 23, 2013 ruling from a federal judge in Ohio declaring that the state must respect same-sex couples' out-of-state marriages for the purpose of listing a surviving spouse on a death certificate. The decision is currently on appeal to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. An additional ruling from April 2014 additionally declared that Ohio must respect the marriages of same-sex couples who married out of state. 

On November 6, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the freedom to marry. This ruling was appealed to the United States Supreme Court, with a ruling expected late summer of 2015.

GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:

  • Why Marriage Matters Ohio is a grassroots public education campaign to build support for the freedom to marry in Ohio.
  • Equality Ohio is a statewide organization that envisions an Ohio where everyone feels at home, living in families and communities where equality, diversity and inclusiveness are universally valued, and where government protects all people and responds to their needs, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
  • The ACLU of Ohio is the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, committed to standing up for equality for all Ohioans.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization dedicated to defending and expanding individual rights and personal freedoms throughout the country.
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.

POLLING DATA:

A growing majority of Ohio residents support marriage for same-sex couples. A September 2012 poll shows that 52 percent of voters now think marriage should be legal, as opposed to 37 percent who say it should be illegal. In 2004, nearly two-thirds of Ohio voters - 62 percent - supported a constitutional amendment defining marriage as "only a union between one man and one woman." (Washington Post, September 2012

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 19,684 same-sex couples are living in Ohio, representing 4.3 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

Blog Posts Related to Ohio

Communities send plaintiffs and lawyers off for oral arguments at the Supreme Court

This month, on April 28, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the question of the freedom to marry in cases from four states: Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky.

Read the stories of the families fighting for marriage before the Supreme Court

Yesterday, April 16, the Associated Press published 15 profiles exploring the personal stories of the people who are putting their families, lives, and love in the spotlight to fight for the freedom to marry across the nation.

Young Conservatives visit Ohio to discuss removing anti-gay language from GOP platform

Yesterday, March 30, the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry stopped in Ohio as part of their Reform the Platform campaign.

See All »

Resources Related to Ohio

Pew Poll Finds Growing Support for Freedom to Marry Among Evangelicals, Majority Support Among Youth

A comprehensive Pew poll found majority support for the freedom to marry among young people, college graduates and Catholics, with growing support among all other religious categories.

Ohio Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Ohio.

Geographic Trends Among Same-Sex Couples in the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey

Groundbreaking research showing a huge increase in same-sex couples identifying themselves as "unmarried partners".

See All »