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Equality OH joins GetEqual Ohio in 3/9 West Chester protest of House Speaker Boehner

posted Mar 10, 2011, 1:55 PM by Michael Chanak

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Ed Mullen, 614-607-3067

West Chester/Columbus, Ohio -- March 10, 2011

Equality Ohio Protests at the Ohio Office of Speaker of the House John Boehner

Equality Ohio staff members and volunteers joined GetEqual Ohio and Impact Cincinnati yesterday to protest U.S. House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to defend the discriminatory and unconstitutional “Defense of Marriage Act.”  Protesters at Speaker Boehner’s Ohio office urged him to focus on creating jobs, not wasting taxpayer dollars defending an unconstitutional law.  

In late February, President Obama’s Justice Department sent a letter to Speaker Boehner advising him that the Justice Department determined that Section 3 of DOMA (which prevents the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages performed under state law) is unconstitutional and violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment.  Accordingly, the Justice Department informed Speaker Boehner that it will no longer defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA.

Yesterday, led by Speaker Boehner, the Bipartisan House Legal Advisory Group voted 3-2 to defend the constitutionality of DOMA.  Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Steny Hoyer opposed the motion to defend DOMA.  

Equality Ohio applauds the decision of the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder to cease defending DOMA, and we commend Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Whip Hoyer for standing behind the Obama administration’s decision.  This is an important step on the road to marriage equality in the United States.

Equality Ohio denounces Speaker Boehner’s vote to defend the constitutionality of DOMA.  To call attention to Speaker Boehner’s anti-equality vote to spend taxpayer dollars defending an unconstitutional law and his failure to focus on job creation rather than divisive social issues, Equality Ohio joined in solidarity with marriage equality supporters throughout Ohio, including residents of Speaker Boehner’s district, to protest his vote.

“Speaker Boehner’s vote to defend the constitutionality of DOMA is appalling.  The Justice Department concluded that the right of equal protection prohibits the federal government from refusing to recognize same sex marriages performed in states where they are legal.  Speaker Boehner’s vote will result only in unnecessary, costly and time-consuming litigation,” said Ed Mullen, Executive Director of Equality Ohio.

Five peaceful protesters were arrested while trying to talk with Speaker Boehner and deliver more than 30,000 petition signatures opposing Speaker Boehner’s vote to defend DOMA.  Equality Ohio is outraged that Speaker Boehner refused to allow the protesters their right to petition their government.  The arrest of these peaceful protesters runs contrary to our democratic values.  Indeed, they were released soon after being arrested, demonstrating that their arrest was merely a way to silence them.

“The protesters who were arrested were peaceful, non-violent and simply trying to exercise their rights as citizens of this state and country to have their voices heard by their government.  The arrests were simply uncalled for,” said Kim Welter, Director of Programs at Equality Ohio, who joined the protesters at Speaker Boehner’s office.  “GetEqual did an excellent job orchestrating this event in a respectful yet assertive manner.”

Equality Ohio advocates and educates to achieve fair treatment and equal opportunity for all Ohioans regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.  Equality Ohio envisions an Ohio where everyone feels at home.

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