COLUMBUS (TDB) -- The Equality Ohio Education Fund, a statewide organization that opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation, released a survey today showing that 58% of the state's residents remain opposed to same-sex marriage.
"The result closely mirrors the outcome of the 2004 November election where Ohioans voted to pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage," the group reported.
However, there was postive news for gays, too. A huge margin of Ohioans, 91%, said they would not object to legislation that would grant same-sex couples a guaranteed right to visit a sick or dying partner in the hospital. And 68% of Ohioans said they favor laws that forbid workplace discrimination. The POLL surveyed 800 Ohioans late last year.
The data found that 90% of Republicans supported hospital visitation, and 60% of Republicans agreed the gays should not have to face discrimination in housing and employment. Current Ohio law forbids discrimination based on age, sex, race, religion and disability, but it does not cover sexual orientation. Several cities have adopted local anti-dscrimination ordinances that include gays.
Lynne Bowman, Equality Ohio's executive director, said the findings show the state's residents are willing to extend some legal protections to lesbian, bisexual, transgender and gay residents. However, only 38% support gay marriage. She was encouraged by the overall findings.
"This is an exceptional response to such an important issue facing many LBGT Ohioans. Everyone should have the guaranteed right to visit their sick or dying partner. Hospital is visitation is an issue on which almost all Ohio voters can agree. We are working for an inclusive Ohio where equality and diversity are valued and protected by law. This is not about special rights. This is about every Ohioan deserving equal rights and protections. Most Ohio voters understand and support that," Bowman said.