Many faith leaders rally to oppose Issue 1 - but not all denominations
Nearly three dozen faith leaders from across the state rallied in downtown Columbus Wednesday to urge people to vote against Issue One, the statewide issue on Tuesday's ballot that would make it harder to pass constitutional amendments - or even get them to the ballot. Rabbis, priests and other ecumenical leaders called the issue an attempt to silence voters, and linked it to last years defiance of Supreme Court opinions that the state's new congressional districts are illegally gerrymandered. Reverend Jed Dearing says the issue is an attack on the tools of democracy.
"The maintenance of justice - this is sacred work of the church. My friends, our state government doesn't just need a quick maintenance, a quick tune up but put up on the rack and given a full repair. And in the midst of this work that needs to be done, they're trying to take our tools. The tool of the vote of the people."
Pastor Amariah McIntosh of the Ohio Council of Churches questioned who's behind Issue One.
"The commercials that I see are talking about "out-of-state money" trying to control our constitution. Isn't it funny that they got a billionaire from Illinois that poured six million dollars to put Issue One on the ballot? Someone is hurting our people, and we won't be silent anymore."
Absent from the rally at Washington Gladden Social Justice Park were many Catholic leaders. Officially the Catholic Bishops of Ohio remain neutral on Issue One, some leaders are telling their parishioners to vote yes, as part of a pro-life strategy. Some elections officials, including Secretary of State Frank LaRose, have said that Issue One was rushed to a special August election in order to make it harder for pro-choice supporters to pass a constitutional amendment protecting reproductive rights that will be on the November ballot