On February 26, 61 percent of voters in Ohio’s fourth largest city granted legal rights to the nation’s 11th largest lake. The passage of the ballot measure by the citizens of Toledo marks the first time a US jurisdiction has granted legal status to a natural resource. Known as the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, the initiative is an example of the Rights of Nature legal movement. According to Smithsonian magazine, it is unclear whether or not the Toledo referendum will withstand legal challenges. The day after the referendum, a farming partnership asserted that it was unconstitutional and unlawful and filed a legal challenge against the ballot initiative.
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