In the frenzy of Ohio’s Sen. Rob Portman’s newly announced support of gay marriage, Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich got a little loose with his words this week and made a statement reflecting a change in his stance on gay rights. But don’t get too excited, because within 24 hours of Kasich’s uncharacteristic gay rights flexibility his P.R. team revealed a counter statement that backtracked any LGBT progress that Kasich almost made.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, when speaking to Cleveland’s WEWS Channel 5 news in regards to Sen. Portman’s announcement, Kasich first explained "I talked to Rob [Portman] and encouraged him." For the governor of Ohio, a state whose constitution does not allow even for civil unions, to "encourage" a statement in support of gay marriage is a huge deal. It revealed how Kasich was understanding on the issue, which is on its own is impressive and a step in the direction to social equality. But then the governor continued, "If people want to have civil unions and have some way to transfer their resources, I’m for that. I don’t support marriage."
Yes, Governor Kasich did explain he does not support gay marriage, but no one cares about that sentence. Governor Kasich is for civil unions and the ability for citizens to transfer their resources!
What great news for the LGBT citizens of Ohio to finally have some support from both Democrats and Republicans. Right? Well, it was great news for about 12 hours until Kasich’s spokesman Rob Nichols gave the following statement:
"The governor’s position is unchanged. He opposes gay marriage and opposes changing Ohio’s constitution to allow for civil rights."
If you are confused, then you are not alone. Nichols explains that Kasich "used the term ‘civil unions’ loosely in this instance, he recognizes existing rights of Ohioans to enter into private contracts to manage their personal property and health care issues." So Kasich was not in support of changing the Ohioan constitution, but did Nichols really just argue Kasich used the term loosely? There was just no other way to spin Kasich’s support. Nichols had to say Kasich misspoke, as they could not place the misunderstanding of the the loose term viewers — it was a blatant statement.
Hopefully, deep down in his Republican heart, Governor John Kaisch does believe that LGBT couples are entitled to some rights and this is why he very clearly said so. But as far as politics go: statement retracted, conservative support sustained.