As marriage equality proponents, organized as Freedom to Mary Ohio, prepare to submit ballot petitions to Ohio attorney general Mike Dewine on Monday, supporters of marriage equality will gather tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. at the Free Stamp at East 9th and Lakeside, for a Rally for Marriage Equality. That will be followed by a mass wedding of both straight and gay couples at the Galleria to spotlight the disparity in marriage rights.
According to the event’s press release,
This rally was spearheaded on Facebook by the “Support Gay Marriage in Ohio” page which has over 198,000 fans. This page is the brainchild of Adam Hoover, a 17-year old from Harrison, Ohio, who has organized previous rallies in Cincinnati and Columbus. A group of local activists in Cleveland jumped on board to organize on the ground and help make this event a huge success.
The rally will feature speakers from LGBT organizations, church groups, elected officials, and others.
The movement for marriage equality in Ohio has gone from 0 to 100 mph in a little over two months. When Ian James, a gay man who owns a Columbus-based company that manages ballot petition drives — he worked on the SB 5 and HB 194 repeal campaigns — decided in January it was time to repeal Ohio’s 2004 Defense of Marriage Amendment and make marriage equality the law of Ohio, the issue wasn’t on the front burner for the state’s established LGBT groups — or anyone, really.
It is now. As an offshoot of a national effort called Freedom to Marry, which buttonholes elected officials to get their positions on marriage equality, James recruited a few friends and acquaintances in central Ohio and threw up a Facebook page to launch the process of getting the issue on the ballot.
“I’ve never experienced anything with this explosive growth behind it,” he says. “It went from five people to 100 people to 200 to 500 to over 1,000” within a month.