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Dads, Grads, Brides and Pride

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We just celebrated Pride Weekend in Columbus, Ohio, and it was a joyous occasion. This year's event honored straight allies, among whom I would include our president, vice-president, General Colin Powell, Jay-Z, the NAACP, and others, like myself, who have announced their support for marriage equality. It was also Father's Day weekend, and this year shoppers saw advertisements that included gay families, another instance of how the mainstream now understands that lesbians and gay men are also parents. These events are moving our society towards greater equality at a faster speed, and polls are showing seismic shifts in the numbers of people who support or accept marriage equality.

Yet we still have some distance to travel before advocates for equality can really relax and celebrate. That family with the cute kids and the handsome two dads? If they lived in Ohio, which banned marriage equality in 2004 with a constitutional amendment, only one of the de facto parents could be the legal adoptive parent, putting the family at greater risk should something bad happen. For example, if the unofficial parent died, leaving a minor child, neither the surviving partner nor minor child could obtain Social Security benefits. Should the child fall off a swing and break his arm, you better hope the official dad is available to take him to the emergency room and consent to treatment.

Which brings us to brides and grooms. June is also the month of weddings, and unless and until we remove the ban on marriage equality in states like Ohio, and have the Supreme Court or Congress reject the federal "Defense of Marriage Act," people who fall in love and want to marry someone of the same gender will suffer the grievous effects of unequal treatment under our laws. In Ohio, many of us are volunteered this Pride Weekend, and will continuing to do so over the course of the next year, to change our state constitution. Working with Freedom Ohio, we are talking to voters and circulating petitions so that we can see even more positive change in voter opinion and put the removal of discrimination on the Ohio ballot in 2013. The new June grads, whom we are registering to become new voters, support marriage equality in large numbers and more of their parents, and even some grandparents, are now understanding why marriage matters. I hope to see an even more exciting Pride Weekend in June 2013, as we get closer to our goal, but the best month of dads, grads, brides and Pride will happen when we achieve marriage equality. In June 2014, I look forward to seeing loving couples, whether of the same gender or opposite genders getting a marriage license in Ohio, and exchanging vows. Where there is love, let there be marriage. Happy Pride.