Three-Fourth of the States Pass Marriage Defense Act

( [email protected] ) Feb 10, 2004 01:51 PM EST

COLUMBUS, Ohio – On Feb. 6, Ohio Gov. Bob Taft signed the state’s first defense of marriage act, passing the three-fourth mark of the states’ votes needed to pass the legislation.

Taft’s move marks a significant milestone in the battle for a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution, since the ratification by three-fourths of the states is required for a federal amendment.

Before reaching the states, an amendment would first require passage by two-thirds of the House and Senate.

Along with his decision, Taft issued an 800-plus word statement regarding his decision, saying that the law is needed to block the actions of the Massachusetts high court that allowed marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"As a result, Ohio could have same-sex couples who were 'married' in Massachusetts taking legal action in Ohio to recognize that marriage and to obtain the resulting benefits," the statement read. "Four judges in another state should not, and cannot, hold the power to redefine marriage in Ohio."

Taft asserted that the bill is "not a law of intolerance."

"The singular purpose of HB 272 is to reaffirm existing Ohio law with respect to our most basic, rooted, and time-honored institution: marriage between a man and a woman," his statement read. "Marriage is an essential building block of our society, an institution we must reaffirm. At a time when parents and families are under constant attack within our social culture, it is important to confirm and protect those environments that offer our children, and ultimately our society, the best opportunity to thrive."

Ohio’s defense of marriage act, according to the Baptist Press, goes further than those of most other states. It would ban not only the recognition of same-sex “marriage” but also the recognition of civil unions and domestic partnerships.

President Bush reportedly told legislators that he would support a constitutional amendment blocking marriage rights to same-sex couples, but all the democratic presidential candidates said they would oppose it.

Bush has yet to embrace the amendment publicly, however. He appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press with Tim Russert" Feb. 8 but the subject of same-sex "marriage" wasn't discussed.

Currently, 62 percent of Americans oppose the legislation of same-sex “marriage,” according to the latest CNN/Time poll.