Billboard with marriage message sparks controversy

U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments that could settle the same-sex marriage debate

(CNN) – If billboards are intended to get attention, this one has succeeded.

“It must have just gone up because I’m here all the time.”

Local artist Paul Richmond has studio space in Grandview, which means he sees the billboard nearly everyday.

“My first thought was just how sad, you know? Why do I have to look at this when I’m making my Starbucks run? something that is obviously geared toward trying to discredit my marriage and the marriages of so many of my friends.”

Richmond and his husband took their vows nearly two years ago in front of the Supreme Court.

“We’ve been together nine years, so it was about time.”

A legal union that affords him little here in Ohio.

“We do get some benefits, insurance benefits through my husband’s work, those types of things but really because it’s not recognized here we don’t have a lot of the same rights as other married couples do.”

This billboard is the second to carry this message in Columbus. Last fall this one on Olentangy River Road sparked protests and a counter-billboard.

Like the first, it has no claim of responsibility or explanation of who paid for it.

“Who put it up and really what are they hoping to accomplish with it? Because it’s not going to change my point of view or anyone who feels the way that I do. So it almost just seems like an attempt to kind of, one of the many attempts that we’re seeing happening around the country right now, to try and remind LGBT people that we need to stay in our place.”

“If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t marry a gay person but stay out of our way because we deserve to live our lives too.”

This is free speech though right?

“Sure, absolutely it is. I think people should absolutely say what they feel. But I think it makes it equally important for us to be visible and loud and vocal with the opposing point of view.”

Copyright 2015 CNN

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