For the most part, SB 5 is similar to the law that has prompted such craziness in Wisconsin. It will severely curtail the ability of *public sector* unions to collectively bargain (note: it does not in any way affect *private sector* unions).
But it turns out that the legislature also included some language to protect the institution of marriage. Liberal blog FireDogLake.com picked up on this special little nugget buried in the bill:
Sec. 3101.01 of S.B. 5: … A marriage may only be entered into by one man and one woman. Any marriage between persons of the same sex is against the strong public policy of this state. Any marriage between persons of the same sex shall have no legal force or effect in this state and, if attempted to be entered into in this state, is void ab initio and shall not be recognized by this state. The recognition or extension by the state of the specific statutory benefits of a legal marriage to non-marital relationships between persons of the same sex or different sexes is against the strong public policy of this state. Any public act, record or judicial proceeding of this state, as defined in section 9.82 of the Revised Code, that extends the specific statutory benefits of legal marriage to non-marital relationships between persons of the same sex or different sexes is void.
The author of the post at FDL offered this analysis:
The Ohio Legislature has already passed a gay marriage ban, AND a referendum put a gay marriage ban in the Constitution in the Bush-Kerry year of 2004. I guess Ohio Republicans would tell you this redundancy was needed because the State Supreme Court limited the impact on parenting and custody relationships. So that necessitated this language. In an anti-union bill. I guess Ohio Republicans are really anti-union!
(Yes, I stole my title from that last line.)
The bill is presently in the Ohio House of Representatives where legislators will make some adjustments to the legislation, hopefully pass a new version that will pass the Senate without a conference committee, and then send it on to Governor Kasich for his signature.
Hopefully that section survives.
I disagree with the author at FDL, though. I don’t think the story here is that the Ohio GOP shied away from publicizing their strong action to defend marriage, I think the story is that it has been included, without loud and sustained protest, from the activists on the ground. Those who seek grievance around every corner certainly would have been alerted to this language by their friends in the statehouse, but the opposition to it has failed to make a big deal out of it. Rather than this being because it is overshadowed by the anti-collective bargaining meat of the bill, I believe it is because the majority of those who hear about this sort of thing agree with it.
The pendulum has swung in the pro-life direction decisively. In spite of a reduction in the societal stigma of homosexuality, I don’t think the pendulum of public opinion has or will swing decisively in favor of enshrining in laws of man a radical new definition of this most fundamental societal institution, as established by the laws of nature.