Former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro announced his support for marriage equality at a FreedomOhio press conference Monday. FreedomOhio is aiming to put a measure that would permit same-sex marriage in the state on the 2014 Ohio ballot. The organization needs 385,245 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters on petitions to qualify for next year’s general election ballot.
As Attorney General, Petro was one of the Republicans who oversaw the state’s enactment of a constitutional ban prohibiting same-sex marriage or civil unions. Talk about a 180.
Petro said he rethought his opposition to marriage equality after his daughter, Corbin, legally married her partner in Massachusetts last year. He is the second Republican official in Ohio to endorse marriage equality, and also the second to do so in large part because his gay child made him question his previous stance. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) announced his support for marriage equality in March, citing his son Will's orientation as the leading factor.
I am all for people, especially prominent officials, reversing their previous stance and becoming more open-minded. I do wish that it didn't always take a family member to generate the empathy and nondiscriminatory thinking that gets said officials there — after all, these two were elected to represent all the sons and daughters in Ohio, not just their own. But hey, at the end of the day, progress is progress. Let's hope to see same-sex marriage passed in Ohio next year.