Why Marriage Matters

Why is marriage such a hot topic? Because marriage matters.

  • As more Ohioans consider what it means to allow same-sex couples to join in civil marriage, you may have questions about what it means and how it works.
  • We hope that you’ll spend some time here getting the facts and listening to the voices of real Ohio couples from all backgrounds talking about why marriage matters to them.

Why does marriage matter to gay and lesbian couples?

  • Marriage matters to gay people in similar ways that it matters to everyone. Gay and lesbian couples want to get married to make a lifetime commitment to the person they love and to protect their families.
  • Marriage is one of the few times where people make a public promise of love and responsibility for each other and ask our friends and family to hold us accountable.
  • Gay and lesbian couples may seem different from straight couples, but we share similar values — like the importance of family and helping out our neighbors; worries — like making ends meet or the possibility of losing a job; and hopes and dreams — like finding that special someone to grow old with, and standing in front of friends and family to make a lifetime commitment.

It’s as simple as the Golden Rule

  • Treating others as one would want to be treated includes allowing marriage for gay couples who are truly committed to each other.
  • Most straight couples would never want someone telling them they couldn’t marry, and when they think about it, many say they wouldn’t want to deny that for anyone else.

Marriage strengthens families. It gives couples the tools and the security to build a life together and to protect their families.

  • Couples get married because they want to be there for each other in sickness and in health, when times are good and when things get tough. State and federal marriage laws provide a safety net of legal and economic protections for married couples and their children — including the ability to visit your spouse in the hospital and to transfer property, which can mean being able to remain in the family home when your spouse has passed away.
  • There have been attempts to create marriage-like relationship systems, but they don’t provide the same security and protections. In many states, same-sex couples that have domestic partnerships have been barred from a dying partner’s bedside, and denied the ability to say goodbye to the person they love. That just doesn’t happen when you’re married.

Allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to get married does not change the meaning of marriage.

  • All couples who marry in the United States must get a license for a civil marriage, usually at a courthouse or city hall. These civil marriages would also be available to same-sex couples.
  • Civil marriage for gay couples does not affect religious marriages, religious institutions or clergy in any way. No religion would be forced to marry same-sex couples, or recognize same-sex marriages within the context of their religious beliefs.
  • What defines a marriage is love and commitment, and the ability to protect your family.

What’s next for marriage in Ohio?

  • Independent polling of registered Ohio voters shows us in a dead heat (47% for marriage equality and 47% against). It is time for a grassroots public education campaign in Ohio to move the hearts and minds of Ohioans.
  • Equality Ohio Education Fund is working with Freedom to Marry (the national organization) and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the ACLU Foundation of Ohio because it is smart for Ohio. Each partner brings breadth and depth of experience that can only enrich our efforts in Ohio.
  • We will have a marriage equality amendment on the ballot when the time is right. What we know right now is that independent polling of registered voters in Ohio does not support putting this on the ballot at this time.
  • We are grateful for the energy and the effort of volunteers who have been gathering signatures. We know how difficult that process can be. It shows the kind of spirit and commitment that we have in Ohio and we welcome them to work with us on this campaign to move Ohio along on the pathway to dignity and fairness.