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Experts bring same-sex marriage debate to Ohio State

Courtesy of ABC6/FOX28

With a drag show promoting LBGT awareness going on upstairs, panelists debated the issue of same-sex marriage at the Ohio Union.

Many attendees of the same-sex marriage ABC6/FOX28 town hall meeting at the U.S. Bank Conference Theater Thursday had no qualms in voicing their opinions and presenting a panel of experts with questions on the hot-button issue.

One audience member asked a panelist opposed to same-sex marriage to look her in the eye and explain how he could deny her the right to marry a woman and raise a family.

Other members of the audience had opposing views, questioning panelists in support of same-sex marriage on how they could break up the traditional institution and religious foundations of marriage.

This was the fifth town hall ABC6/FOX28 has done, said Liz Lane, executive producer of special projects for the networks.

Lane also said the movement to add an amendment protecting same-sex marriage to the November ballot that would overturn Ohio’s 2004 ban, and the recent announcement by Sen. Rob Portman supporting the issue, were main factors in choosing the town hall’s topic.

“We felt that this was probably a good time to do it and get a good response,” Lane said. “I think it went very well.”

The panelists participating in the town hall were Ian James, co-founder of Freedom Ohio; Elyzabeth Holford, executive director of Equality Ohio; Greg Davis, pastor of Southwest Baptist Church in Brunswick, Ohio and Ken Klukowski, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council.

A split table, with James and Holford lobbying for same-sex marriage on the right and Davis and Klukowski opposed on the left, acted as a medium for civilized argument.

To help facilitate the evening, questions pulled from social media were also presented to the panelists.

In response to a question pulled from Twitter asking how marriage equality would affect each of the experts, there were mixed answers.

“I would be happy, because it’s something I never thought I’d be able to do,” Holford said.

Davis had a different answer.

“There is not one person that is denied the right to marry,” he said. “The fact is, if you want to marry – you’re a woman, you marry a man.”

With an audience of roughly 200 people, the social spectrum was represented as various cheers and jeers were interjected into the discussion throughout the meeting.

Doris Durica of Cleveland made the trip to Columbus to attend the town hall, and showed her support in opposing same-sex marriage.

“I thought it went well,” she said.

Durica said she has attended similar events, and has spoken in front of Cleveland City Council and Cuyahoga City Council on the topic as well.

Lyn Herron of Westerville, Ohio, attended the town hall and also thought it ran smoothly.

“Both sides got equal time, and in a debate that’s the most important thing,” she said. “It’s not who you agree with getting the most time, it’s both sides being able to express their views.”

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