CLEVELAND – The ACLU of Ohio today released the following statement regarding Ohio’s Issue 1, which takes effect on Thursday, Dec. 2:

"The ACLU of Ohio abhors the approval of Issue One. This unfortunate and mean-spirited constitutional amendment should have little or no legal effect beyond making marriage less available to people in this state.

"The first sentence defines marriage as 'a union between one man and one woman.' That definition was already part of Ohio's law. The second sentence, in language that is so murky that it is meaningless, appears to bar relationships that 'approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage.' Ohio does not and never has recognized any such relationships. Indeed, marriage is such a unique concept that it is difficult to think of another relationship that could approximate it.

"The evil of Issue One, then, is not in its legal effect. It is that the Ohio Constitution now gives those people who are so inclined, an excuse to express their prejudice or justify discrimination against a group of people that they do not like. It targets our neighbors, our co-workers, our families, and our fellow citizens who do not fit the mold of married heterosexuals and says 'we don't want your kind here.'

"There will come a time when we are embarrassed by this expression of hatred and we will repeal it. The ACLU of Ohio will work toward that end. And we will do more. We will vigorously pursue or join litigation if narrow-minded zealots attempt to take rights away from our citizens by arguing that Issue 1 does anything other than restrict marriage."

The nonprofit, nonpartisan ACLU of Ohio is a state affiliate of the national ACLU. Funded entirely through charitable gifts and membership dues, the ACLU defends individual rights through litigation, lobbying, and educational initiatives. The ACLU of Ohio has a staff office in Cleveland and community and campus chapters located in every region of Ohio. There are more than 18,000 ACLU members and supporters in Ohio and over 400,000 nationwide.