U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-13th, pledged his support to legalize gay marriage in Ohio at a rally for marriage equality at Youngstown State University on Saturday.
"The promotion of fairness, equality and justice is a hallmark of who we are as Ohioans and Americans," Ryan said in remarks prepared for the approximately 100 people attending the rally.
"These entrenched values go far in ensuring a just and peaceful society that does the right thing for its people. If we are going to transform this nation, we need to welcome all of its sons and daughters with open arms," he added.
Ryan also said he believes full marriage rights should be granted to all Ohioans and all Americans, adding that such rights do not force any religious institution to sanction these marriages.
About 10 couples who are either gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender were married Saturday during the outdoor rally in front of Kilcawley Center. The marriages, however, would not be recognized legally by the state of Ohio.
Other scheduled speakers included Steven Snyder-Hill, Joshua Snyder-Hill, Jennifer Tyrrell, Ian James, Jacob Nash, Jack Gordon, Adam Hoover and Judy Benson.
YSU President Cynthia Anderson also attended the rally.
Grass-roots organization Marriage Equality Ohio sponsored the event. It is seeking to place an issue on the Ohio ballot to legalize gay marriage.