A federal appeals court has denied a request to delay its ruling striking down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A prominent Ohio Republican and former Cabinet member of Gov. John Kasich's administration said Monday that he supports an effort to overturn the state's ban on same-sex marriage, contending the prohibition fosters intolerance and creates a roadblock to diversity.
Jim Petro, a former attorney general and former state chancellor of higher education, has a daughter who is gay. She and her wife, who live in Massachusetts, are expecting their first child this fall.
"I believe in marriage equality, and I believe Ohio will be better and have better prospects for economic growth and prosperity if we did not have restrictive language in our constitution as (the ban) provides," he told reporters at a news conference in Columbus.
Petro was joined Monday by the co-founder of FreedomOhio, the group seeking to repeal and replace a 2004 constitutional amendment that prohibits gay marriage in Ohio.
The group's replacement amendment would allow two consenting adults to marry regardless of gender. It also wouldn't require churches and other religious institutions to perform or recognize a marriage.
Supporters have been circulating petitions for more than a year. They need more than 385,000 valid signatures by next July to get the issue before voters in November 2014.
Ian James, a co-founder of FreedomOhio, told reporters that he believed the campaign already had met the required number based on the signatures that the group had on hand and in the field. He said more than 4,000 supporters have been out collecting signatures.
The organization plans to work in the coming months to increase the number of Republicans supporting the effort, he said.
James said getting the amendment passed in the perennial presidential battleground state would require Republican backers of gay marriage to be just as engaged as Democrats.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, announced his support of same-sex marriage earlier this year after learning one of his sons is gay.
James said the group has had conversations with Portman on the amendment, and the senator has indicated he doesn't want to take a position as a campaign operative.
Petro said he has been surprised by the reluctance and hesitation of the GOP to support gay marriage.
"Because Republicans should be for freedom, they should be for equality and they should be supportive of the notion of commitment," he said.
Kasich, a Republican who faces re-election next year, opposes gay marriage and civil unions.
The 2004 amendment to ban gay marriage in Ohio has been credited with increasing turnout in the state's GOP-heavy south and west, helping George W. Bush win carry the pivotal state. It was supported by 62 percent of Ohio voters at the time.
Petro, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2006, opposed the amendment in 2004. He was the first statewide elected official at the time to come out against the ballot issue, saying it was too vague and could hurt the economy.
Target Corp. is adding its name to a legal defense of gay marriage, joining other large companies that have taken a stand on same-sex unions.
A federal appeals court will hear arguments in gay marriage fights from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee in the biggest session of its kind so far.
A federal appeals court has struck down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban.
The governor's office says Indiana won't recognize hundreds of same-sex marriages performed before a court halted a decision that lifted the state's ban.
A federal judge has struck down Indiana's ban on gay marriage, calling it unconstitutional.
Same-sex marriages have been put on hold in Wisconsin by a federal judge who last week struck down the state's gay marriage ban as unconstitutional.
A federal judge has struck down Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage, and despite confusion over the ruling, clerks in Madison and Milwaukee say they'll start marrying people immediately.
Hawaii issued 40 licenses for same-sex marriages Monday as gay marriages began in the state with six couples at a Waikiki resort exchanging vows side-by-side in front of a few hundred guests.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday sharply criticized U.S. states that are defying the Pentagon.