Thousands Attend Marriage Equality Rally

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The issue of gay marriage played out in downtown Cleveland Saturday in a mass wedding. Thousands of people gathered at the Galleria to witness more than 250 same-sex couples exchange wedding vows.

But, their marriages are only a symbolic statement of their commitment to each other, as same gender marriages are banned in Ohio.

State Representative Nickie J. Antonio said the Ohio Constitution would have to be changed to legalize these marriages.  A referendum would have to be put on the ballot and put to a vote by the voters of Ohio. “So to repeal the part of the Constitution that now says that marriage is only between a man and a woman,” State Rep. Antonio said.

Jamie Moore says he has waited a long time to marry his partner of six years.  “And even though in the eyes of the state this isn’t legal, to us, this is a wedding, and this is a way that we can commit to each other,” Moore said.

Kathy Mauricio agreed after exchanging vows with her bride, Nonnie.  “It’s legal to me, and no one can take that away from us,” she said.

New York, Washington and Maryland have recently made same-sex marriages legal in their states. The thousands who took part in Saturday’s mass wedding showed their support for marriage equality and the movement to have Ohio’s law on marriage also changed. “Before, this used to be something that was shamed upon, and now it is out in the open. So, it is going to happen,” Mauricio said.