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SCOTUS DOMA Reversal Energizes Ohio Gay Rights Group
DAYTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling reversing a key provision in the Defense of Marriage Act lights a fire under gay rights activist group FreedomOhio.
Gay rights supporters are praising Wednesday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court declaring part of DOMA unconstitutional.
This reversal, however, does not affect Ohio's ban on gay marriage. A state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage passed with 62 percent of the vote in 2004. At that time, lawmakers and Ohioans defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
Non-profit FreedomOhio is encouraged that definition will change.
"FreedomOhio is booming! We are ecstatic! After the rulings yesterday that just gives us so much more momentum," Lorrie Tufano says.
Tufano has been with her partner, Joy Wagers, for 18 years. The two joined together in civil union in Massachusetts in front of their families.
But their union and the certificate to match is worthless, according to Ohio law.
"We just wants the benefits that come with marriage," Tufano said passionately. "Equal rights to where she would get my benefits and vice versa. Now they don't even consider us a family."
Tufano suffers from a terminal lung disease, but despite her health she hits the pavement every day for FreedomOhio. The non-profit has collected hundreds of thousands of voter signatures to put a constitutional amendment permitting gay marriage in front of voters..
"We are doing festivals, door-to-door canvassing, we're doing phone calling."
Lorrie says the group has already surpassed the necessary 385,000 signatures to qualify for the November 2014 ballot.
"We want it to be fair and square. We don't want it to be a left thing or a right thing. We want it to be a we-the-people-of-Ohio thing," Tufano states. "I think in 2014 you'll see us in the state of Ohio, put to the ballot and have a whole different attitude than what they had in 2004."
FreedomOhio says they haven't stopped collecting signatures and the group's goal is 700,0000 to submit for the November 2014 ballot.
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