Hopes dimmed in LGBT community

Regina Garcia Cano

Outlook grim for legalizing marriage in Ohio, nation

California courthouses welcomed same-sex couple for six months. But Ohio courthouses have never welcomed them.

In May, the California Supreme Court granted marriage to same-sex couples after it decided the state Constitution guarantees that right.

But California residents voted to pass the Proposition 8 referendum on Election Day, which will add the section “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” to the state’s Constitution.

Now, some members of the LGBT community around the country believe they will never see homosexual marriage approved in their state.

“In Ohio there are some liberal people – we turned the state blue – but there won’t be gay rights until my great grandchildren’s life,” said PRIDE!Kent secretary Kat Rybski. “Civil unions are the most we will get in my lifetime, and that’s over- optimistic.”For Marilyn Norconk, associate professor in anthropology, Ohio residents will “drag their feet” on this issue.

“I don’t expect Ohio to move in the direction of backing or supporting or providing gay marriage soon,” Norconk said. “I hope that eventually gay people would be accepted for the human values that all people in the U.S. deserve.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a strong supporter of the proposition, providing millions of dollars to the campaign.

“In terms of sacraments, in our church, marriage is considered the highest,” Jon Ridinger, master’s student in arts and teaching, said. “We believe God has defined marriage and don’t want to see it changed by man.”

Ridinger said more civil unions that allow people to provide their partners with insurance should be set, instead of redefining the meaning of marriage.

“The members of our church don’t want marriage to be legally redefined,” he said. “The main issue was not to take something away …We do not tell our people to hate gays.”

Rybski said the advancement of gay rights depends on the political activism of the members and allies of the LGBT community. She said Barack Obama’s victory in the presidential election may accelerate changes that will benefit the community.

“People holding signs in the streets don’t change anything,” Rybski said. “Nothing can be done on the outside; everything should be done in the inside.”

Rybski said members of the LGBT community should fight to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. Under this act, states are allowed to not recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions performed in other states.

“Right now, LGBT activists are fighting in a state-by-state level, but we should fight in a national level,” Rybski said. “We should elect officials that are LGBT-friendly and get people in the House and the Senate in order to fight the system in the inside.”

Contact minority affairs reporter Regina Garcia Cano at [email protected].