COLUMBUS -- Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine has signed off on new petition language for a group that hopes to overturn Ohio's ban on gay marriage.
DeWine announced Monday his certification of the proposed constitutional amendment, noting that the Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment language "is a fair and truthful statement."
Pending a subsequent review by the state ballot board in coming days, backers will begin to collect the 380,000-plus signatures required to place the issue before voters.
It's the second proposal from FreedomOhio, which wants to overturn the state's gay marriage ban while allowing churches to refrain from participating in such ceremonies.
The new ballot language also would call for gay marriages conducted in other states to be treated equally under state law to heterosexual unions.
FreedomOhio Executive Director Ian James said he hoped the new language would alleviate concerns other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups had about the initial petition effort. He said his group collected enough signatures on the latter and would hold it "in a state of readiness" for filing.
James added that he didn't think there was enough time to complete the qualification process to place the new issue before voters this year.
Earlier this month, FreedomOhio also announced plans to launch a petition drive to force lawmakers to act on legislation banning housing, employment and other discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Comparable legislation has been introduced at the Statehouse in recent years but has not gained support in the Republican-controlled House or Senate.
The gay marriage ban was added to the state constitution by voters in 2004, with support from 62 percent of the electorate.