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Big marriage push kicks off today in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Why Marriage Matters Ohio, a marriage equality education campaign supporting the right for any loving, committed Ohio couple to marry, launched today statewide.

The launch announcement was simultaneously held in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus. The launch introduced the campaign and its founders: Equality Ohio Education Fund, Freedom to Marry, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Ohio.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) spoke at the Cleveland launch.

“All Americans should able to marry the person they love, and they should be able celebrate that love in Ohio. Full rights should not vary by geographical lines. Why Marriage Matters Ohio will bring this issue of equal rights to the forefront,” Brown said.

“Marriage matters,” said Elyzabeth Holford, executive director of Equality Ohio Education Fund, speaking today in Columbus. “There are couples in Ohio living in legal limbo. It’s time to change that. Why Marriage Matters Ohio is part of our roadmap to fairness and dignity for all Ohioans.”

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, noted the importance of the campaign.

“Why Marriage Matters Ohio aims to encourage neighbor-to-neighbor conversations across the state, inviting people to talk about their own individual journeys toward support of the freedom to marry and their values of respect for commitment and treating others as we'd all want to be treated,” Wolfson said.

“Personal stories are the best conversation starter – and conversation is the best way to help people understand that all loving and committed couples in Ohio, gay and non-gay alike, should be able to share in the freedom to marry and the security and meaning marriage brings.”

A recent poll of voters in Ohio done by the Public Religion Research Institute shows support for marriage equality in a dead heat at 47% on both sides. Why Marriage Matters Ohio was created to bring marriage equality to the forefront.

“We are committed to bringing full equality to every Ohioan in all aspects of life. That means employment equality, housing equality, and marriage equality,” said Christine Link, ACLU Foundation of Ohio executive director.

“The Supreme Court’s DOMA decision sounded the call that these inequalities will no longer stand. Any couple who commits to marriage should receive the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities.”

“We couldn’t be happier to be here working here in Ohio,” said Marty Rouse, national field director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. “Ohio really is the heart of it all.”

The campaign announcement included endorsements from members of the faith and business communities.

“We value marriage in our society. And we also value every Ohioan. It’s time for Ohio to step up and celebrate all families across this state,” said state Rep. Nikki Antonio, the first out statewide elected official in Ohio, speaking today in Columbus.

“When I met Maritza, I knew what it meant to want be with someone forever,” said Siobhan Boyd, speaking in Columbus. “The sad thing is that we had to leave Ohio to get married. We love Ohio. This is our home. We know that marriage matters in Ohio and we support this campaign.”