Ohio’s Marriage Discrimination Amendment

Salon Magazine has an article on Ohio’s anti-marriage equality amendment, which will be on Nov. 3rds. The measure goes beyond simply disallowing same-sex marriage arrangements, and potentially invalidates all legal agreements between a same-sex couple, including child custody agreements, wills, and power of attorney. Ten other states — Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah — are also voting on amendments like this.

What’s most frightening is that churches are, illegally, actively involved in promoting this anti-gay amendment. Read especially the section of the article on gay professionals who are planning on moving out of the state if the amendment is passed. My family tends to react as though I’m crazy when I talk about moving to Canada, but I’m clearly not the only one.

While the first sentence simply decrees that marriage is between a man and a woman, the second says, “This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage.”

Like many gay couples, Reeves and Mamlin have a whole raft of documents designed to “approximate” marriage, and they have no way of knowing which ones the courts will decide that Ohio can’t “recognize.” Will agreements that allow them to visit each other in the hospital still be valid? Will their wills?

Many of the amendments being voted on in November raise similar questions. Georgia’s, for example, strips courts of the ability to hear cases arising from same-sex partnerships. Lawyers say that could render even private contracts between couples — things like power of attorney and property-sharing agreements — unenforceable.

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