- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 22, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Senate has approved one of the most far-reaching homosexual “marriage” bans in the nation despite charges from some lawmakers that the legislation was mean-spirited and discriminatory.

A divided Senate approved the bill 18-15 on Wednesday and sent it back to the House, which is expected to approve minor changes next week. Gov. Bob Taft, a Republican, has said he will sign the bill.

The measure says such unions are “against the strong public policy of the state” and would prohibit state employees from receiving benefits for domestic partners, whether they are homosexual or unmarried heterosexual couples.

The bill permits exceptions to the benefits ban, including cities, villages, townships, schools and private companies. However, universities are included in the ban.

Senate Minority Leader Gregory DiDonato, a Democrat, said the bill was mean-spirited and “just plain wrong.” Sen. C.J. Prentiss, also a Democrat, quoted from Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech as she called the bill “good, old-fashioned discrimination.”

But Republican Sen. Jay Hottinger, a supporter of the same-sex “marriage” ban, said that opponents were misstating the bill’s intentions. He said the bill was not an attack on homosexuals, but rather meant to protect a traditional definition of marriage.

“This is solely and clearly clarifying and protecting the definition of marriage between one man and one woman,” Mr. Hottinger said.

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