Former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro has joined the chorus of Republicans calling for marriage equality in that state. Petro made the announcement on the Ohio Public Radio show hosted by Joe Ingles.
Petro is working with the state groups that want to put a repeal of the Ohio marriage ban onto the ballot for next year.
Here is the clip:
In the interview, Petro, who has never backed the ban on same-sex marriage in Ohio, stated that “It’s intolerant. When you read it, it looks and reads to be intolerant. It doesn’t make Ohio appear to be very welcoming, which is the last thing we need. And at the same time, it doesn’t foster an air of equality, and I think we need to have a better sense of that.”
It is not just a legal matter to Petro. His daughter is openly lesbian. He recounts in the interview that “Our daughter was totally forthright throughout her lifetime. From the time she was 13, she would tell me what she thought. Politically, she would tell me if she thought I was wrong. My daughter, if anybody is aware of her, is now 33—no, 34 holy cow. She’s married. Her spouse is Jessica. They’re both are very successful in their careers. They have a beautiful home in Massachusetts. I’m envious sometimes. But they also really believe in equality and freedom. And I guess I respect so much what they go through.”
What’s more, his daughter and her wife are set to have a child this fall, making Petro a grandfather.
He also noted that the reason why his daughter and her family do not live in Ohio currently is the ban on same-sex marriage. The planned amendment would not force religious organizations to perform or recognize same-sex marriages in their churches. He says “Government should be all about equality. If there are faith issues, or faith-based issues around it, that’s a religious component. But that’s not government.”
Petro feels free to make this announcement in large part because he is not running for office now or ever again.
Chris Schrimpf, a member of the Ohio Republican Party, feels that any speculation on how the ballot initiative would impact a future race “would be premature at this point, and then, if and when it does make the ballot, it would be up to the (Republican) state central committee to make a decision of what the Republican party’s engagement is going to be.”
He did add, though, that “We don’t tell the candidates or give them some sort of litmus test on how they should behave on any particular issue. That’s a choice they each have to make.”
The Republican Party has a major problem with this issue given the fact that the base of the Party is heavily against the issue while moderates and independents are more apt to be for it. Furthermore, more Republicans are starting to support same-sex marriage.
Chris Redfern, the head of Ohio’s Democratic Party, also doubts that Petro’s support will make a huge difference saying “He has been consistently opposed to the Defense of Marriage Act. Sadly, he doesn’t have many friends in the Republican party who share his similar beliefs.”