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LGBT Pride Parade draws support for marriage equality

July 3, 2014

By Nicole Drake

Booming music reverberates and rainbow flags sail high catching the summer breeze against the picturesque backdrop of downtown Cleveland.

Every year, expressive supporters and gay couples walk proudly through the streets for the Pride Parade in Voinovich Park in hopes that Ohio will soon join other states that permit gay marriages.

View photo gallery or watch a video of this year's Pride Parade at Voinovich Park.

Michael Premo, Campaign Manager for Why Marriage Matters Ohio, said his campaign has been working for two and a half years to repeal and replace the 2004 marriage ban in Ohio.

“Its grown to have over 62,000 members supporting the effort and that now places FreedomOhio as the state’s largest LGBT equality organization,” Premo said.

According to Premo, polls show that 85 percent of Ohio voters know someone in the LGBT community.

When people know someone who is a part of the LGBT community, people are less likely to discriminate, according to Premo.

Though Ohio does not currently permit same sex marriages, there are petitions moving toward the issue of marriage equality for legal benefits here in Ohio.

According to Ian James, executive director for FreedomOhio, the petition for marriage equality and legal benefits has more than 650,000 entered signatures, which is enough to get the issue on the ballot in July next year.

“We’re not choosing an arbitrary date to place the issue before voters; we’re following up a process of getting the number of signatures and continuing to build majority support,” James said. “We have 65 percent support from voters for the amendment and growing. We’re raising the resources and generating money to run an effective and winning campaign.”

Back in April U.S District Court Judge Timothy Black took a stand to move Ohio forward in the fight for marriage equality.

Black made an order to file an appeal with the state that says same-sex couples — legally married elsewhere — must be recognized by the state.

“I intend to issue a written decision and order by April 14 striking down as unconstitutional under all circumstances Ohio’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages from other states,” Black told Alan Johnson of the Columbus Dispatch.

“His [Black] ruling was a little more narrow and the ruling on the appeal will be heard on August 6th, a month away,” James said.

According to James, one of the rulings under Black was a death certificate case.
This means that married same-sex couples who were married out of state cannot be denied the surviving spouse name being on death certificate in the state of Ohio.

The second ruling is the birth certificate case.

James said this was more of a “cradle to the grave ruling."

This means that same-sex couples who adopt should have the right to have both names of the parents on the birth certificate.

Now, there’s a third case going through the federal court dealing with the 14th amendment issue that was ruled upon in Indiana and Utah.

The Gay Games 9 will be coming to Cleveland and Akron in August and the Pride Parade in Voinovich Park has been outstanding for 26 years.

“I think that the pride parade at Voinovich and the Gay Games coming to Ohio shows the kind of revolution that we’ve gone through as a state, region and country since 2004,” Premo said.

“It’s very interesting and there are a lot of people that probably didn’t see or think this was going to happen. A lot of people were thinking maybe we were moving too far, too fast and some thinking we weren’t moving fast enough and we need to continue to push the envelope,” Premo said.

View photo gallery or watch a video of this year's Pride Parade at Voinovich Park.