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Ohio Bill Aims to Repeal Same-Sex Marriage Ban & Protect Interracial Marriage

Published Friday, Dec. 1st, 2023


Photo: Dmitri / Adobe Stock

Representatives in Ohio House seek to protect marriage rights for LGBTQ+ and interracial families 

 


Earlier this month, legislators in the Ohio House of Representatives introduced a bill to align the state’s marriage laws with federal laws, and help ensure the marriage rights of LGBTQ+ and interracial families at the state level. 

 

If passed, this important bill (House Bill 332) would repeal outdated laws that prohibit the solemnization and recognition of same-sex marriages in the state. These laws have been unenforceable since same-sex marriage was legalized at the national level in 2015 (when the Supreme Court made its ruling in Obergefell v Hodges), and should be removed. 

 

Among the statutes to be repealed is § 3101.01 (B) (1):

 

Any marriage between persons of the same sex is against the strong public policy of this state. Any marriage between persons of the same sex shall have no legal force or effect in this state and, if attempted to be entered into in this state, is void ab initio and shall not be recognized by this state.

 

In addition, a new subsection would be added to the state’s marriage laws to explicitly protect interracial marriage. Interracial marriage has been protected by federal law since 1967 (following the Supreme Court's ruling in Loving v Virginia), but is not yet specifically recognized at the state level in Ohio. 

 

To be added: 

 

“ Sec. 3101.011. This state and its political subdivisions shall not prohibit marriage between individuals of different races.”

 

 

 

This legislation was introduced on November 16th, 2023, by Representatives Jessica Miranda (D) and Tavia Galonski (D), and has been referred to committee for review.

 

It's important to note that because Ohio's state constitution also includes a ban against same-sex marriage (passed in 2004), this legislation would only be the first step in fully protecting LGBTQ+ families there. A constitutional amendment must also be proposed and passed to ensure marriage equality in the future. (Read more about this in David Rees's article for NBC4i.)

 

 

The importance of state-level marriage protections

 

The repeal of same-sex marriage bans from state laws has gained increased attention in recent years, due to concerns that a conservative Supreme Court might reverse its ruling in Obergefell v Hodges or Loving v Virginia – thus leaving the issue of marriage rights up to individual states to decide.

 

If federal protections for same-sex marriage were to end in the future, existing bans like the one in Ohio would be reenacted. However, removing them from state laws now helps safeguard against this.

 

Related: The Threat to Same-Sex Marriage in a Post-Roe World

 

In addition to removing outdated laws, legislators can create new laws that explicitly outline the marriage rights of citizens to equal protections regardless of race, gender, sexuality, age, and other qualities. 

 

 

A queer couple during a surprise proposal outdoors along the river, in the background people walk along enjoy the warm evening

Photo: Jakayla Toney / Unsplash

A happy proposal: Lawmakers in states across the country are introducing legislation to help protect the marriage rights of queer and interracial families, including recent efforts in Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and others.

 

 

Ohio is one of many states that have considered removing or amended outdated marriage bans in recent years. To name a few: Nevada became the first state to repeal a same-sex marriage ban from its state constitution in 2020; Illinois amended its laws to protect marriage equality for same-sex and interracial couples in July of this year; New Hampshire and New Jersey both codified interracial marriage rights this year; and lawmakers in Florida, Virginia, and Texas (among others) attempted to repeal marriage bans in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

 

Lawmakers in the Navajo Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have also recently reconsidered same-sex marriage bans.

 

We expect to see more efforts like these around the country in the new year, and will keep you updated on this exciting and important legislation. 

 

 


 

You might also like: 
 

Read all Ohio Wedding News

 

 

A wedding officiant performs a same sex ceremony for two brides outdoors in front of friends and family

Asked to officiate a same-gender wedding? We're here to help you plan the perfect ceremony! Read the full article here. 

 


 


Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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