- The Washington Times - Friday, February 6, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gov. Bob Taft approved one of the country’s most far-reaching homosexual “marriage” bans yesterday, saying its adoption was urgent because the nation’s first legally sanctioned same-sex weddings could take place as early as this spring in Massachusetts.

The bill, which Mr. Taft signed in private, also prohibits state employees from getting marital benefits for their unmarried partners, whether homosexual or heterosexual.

Approving the bill became more pressing after the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled 4-3 this week that denial of marriage to same-sex couples was unconstitutional, Mr. Taft said.

“It is necessary for us to act now to safeguard Ohio’s marriage laws,” he said. “Ohio could have same-sex couples who were married in Massachusetts taking legal action in Ohio to recognize that marriage and to obtain the resulting benefits.”

When the law takes effect in 90 days, Ohio will become the 38th state to adopt a “defense of marriage act” and the second to deny benefits to some employees’ partners.

Mr. Taft, a Republican, denied assertions that the law promotes intolerance. He said the new law would send a strong positive message to children and families.

“Marriage is an essential building block of our society, an institution we must reaffirm,” he said.

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