For Some Christians, Ohio’s Issue 1 Wasn’t All About Abortion

Not all Christians in Ohio agreed on how to approach the referendum, which aimed to raise the threshold for passing constitutional amendments.

Ohio went to the polls on Tuesday to vote on whether to make it harder to amend the state constitution by ballot, just months before a significant abortion measure goes before voters. But the measure failed.

The headlines around the referendum, called “Issue 1,” framed it as another hot-button issue splitting Americans into the same factions—Democrats versus Republicans, abortion opponents versus abortion rights advocates.

For some Christians, Issue 1 wasn’t so black and white. Many supported it, believing the higher threshold would hurt the chances of the upcoming abortion amendment. Some opposed it, and others struggled to reconcile their views against abortion with their concerns over how it would affect other rights in the state.

Issue 1 would have raised the passing threshold for constitutional amendments to a 60 percent supermajority, up from the current 50 percent plus one vote needed to do so. It also would have required signatures from all 88 counties in the state, instead of the current 44 needed, to initiate a ballot petition.

The subtext of the referendum, however, was abortion. In November, voters in Ohio will be considering a constitutional amendment that aims to enshrine the right to abortion in the state—a measure that already has been adopted by several states and is supported by 58 percent of Ohio voters, according to a July poll by Suffolk University and USA Today. Opponents of Issue 1 saw it as an effort to hamstring that amendment before it came to a vote, as well as a threat to voting rights in the state.

But on Tuesday this week, about three million voters in Ohio participated in the referendum, and a majority (57%) said “no” to Issue 1, setting up a showdown in …

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