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On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in the Ohio marriage case Obergefell v. Hodges, ending marriage discrimination throughout the nation. This decision was quickly implemented by states across the country, including in Ohio. Read more about the ruling here.


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 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.

In December 23, 2013  a federal judge in Ohio ruled 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 was appealed 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, 2014, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the freedom to marry. This ruling was appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

On April 28, 2015, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments on the freedom to marry in Ohio.


  • 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.
  • Lambda Legal is the United States' first legal organization dedicated to achieving full equality for gay and lesbian people. The organization was counsel in the Henry v. Hodges case. 
  • 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.


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


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.

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