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By Bob Vitale
Gov. John Kasich said today that he supports the decision of his fellow Republican, Attorney General Mike DeWine, to appeal the pending court ruling that would force Ohio to recognize the legal, out-of-state marriages of its gay and lesbian residents.
“The people of the state, including me, voted years ago on a constitutional amendment to say that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Kasich said, according to a report in The Columbus Dispatch.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Black announced Friday that he intends to strike down part of the state’s 2004 constitutional amendment that restricts marriage rights to opposite-sex couples.
Black’s ruling, likely to be issued next week, will order the state to recognize marriages that take place elsewhere, although he is likely to leave the state’s ban in place.
According to The Columbus Dispatch report, Kasich said Black’s decision “doesn’t change the fact of how people voted.”
Polls show a majority of voters in the state now favors marriage equality, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last June that the federal government must recognize marriages in states that have adopted marriage equality.
The court’s decision has been cited by federal judges in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Kentucky and Michigan, who have struck down all or part of their states’ bans.
Republican officials in those states are appealing the rulings as well.
Kasich’s opposition to marriage equality is well-known. Last year, he said he favored civil unions, but his spokesman quickly took back the comments and said the former congressman hadn’t known that “civil union” was a legal term.
The governor’s likely opponent in the Nov. 4 election, Democrat Ed FitzGerald, said Kasich should accept Black’s decision.
“Governor Kasich wasted an opportunity to send an important signal that Ohio is a tolerant and welcoming state,” FitzGerald said in a written statement.
“Not only is accepting the federal ruling the right thing to do, but more and more businesses, conventions and major sporting events are considering a state’s tolerance when deciding whether or not to bring their business here. Governor Kasich’s announcement today was a step in the wrong decision for Ohio’s LGBT community and for our economy.”