Council Sidesteps Homophobic Initiative

A voter referendum planned by a conservative group that seeks to overturn Cincinnati’s anti-discrimination law for gay, lesbian and transgendered people won’t go before city council for a vote Wednesday after all.

Equal Rights Not Special Rights collected the 7,000 signatures necessary to place the issue on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Typically, after the Hamilton County Board of Elections certifies the validity of the signatures, the city must fill a perfunctory role and have its attorneys help draft ballot wording, then have council formally place the measure on the ballot, even if a council majority disagrees with the proposal’s intent.

But city council resisted the effort by Equal Rights Not Special Rights. Council members said their interpretation of Ohio election laws requires council only to become involved in placing voter-led initiatives on the ballot, not referendums that attempt to rescind previous actions by voters. The board of elections must take such an action, council said.

As a result, city council will be able to sidestep the issue tomorrow, during the one meeting held during its summer break.

One way or another, though, the measure still will appear on the ballot when city voters go to the polls this fall.

Equal Rights Not Special Rights actually might be pleased by the switch, because the group was upset over proposed ballot wording offered by the city. The city’s wording required a “yes” vote to overturn the added protections. People seeking the ballot issue, however, prefer it be worded so a “no” vote accomplishes that task.

In March, city council voted 8-1 to extend Cincinnati’s human rights ordinance to include sexual orientation and transgendered status. The action followed a voter-approved repeal in November 2004 of a provision that had prohibited including those groups under the law. Equal Rights Not Special Rights — which is backed by Sharonville-based Citizens for Community Values — had pressed for the exclusion in 1993.

As a result, for more than a decade the city’s anti-discrimination law only provided protection from discrimination based on race, gender, age, color, religion, disability status, marital status or ethnicity. The prohibition against including homosexuals and transgendered people was the only one of its kind in the nation.

The exclusion was repealed in 2004 by a 54-46 percent margin. It followed a two-year campaign by repeal supporters that relied mostly on volunteers going door-to-door throughout the city to discuss the issue.

— Kevin Osborne

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5 Comments on “Council Sidesteps Homophobic Initiative”

  1. “Council Sidesteps Homophobic Initiative”
    Could we say they “skipped” by it?

  2. Harvey Milk Says:

    new headline ” Sodomy Rights Initiative to be Decided by Voters”

  3. ToeJamFootball Says:

    ^Hey what you do to your wife in your home is none of my business.

  4. Mike Says:

    Jesus is so proud. I bet he’ll have cry with joy when a homosexual is denied housing or employment and no one ever knows about it. As Jesus said in the Bible, “Trannies and Faggots shall never enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but will instead be sent to the fiery pits of hell to be burned at the stake.” Verse 5 Act 8 The Book of Ignoramis.

  5. Dan Says:

    The City of Cincinnati continues to just fall apart. We have a retarded council that can’t do anything with the city. Our riverfront sucks, gay people are not welcome, we treat each other like shit because everyone thinks we live in new york. C’mon people, give this stuff a rest. If congress can spend $450 million on a war and then Bush has to worry about gay marriage…. puuuhhhh leeze… spare me. Now, the conservatives come, once again, to destroy the city. WHO CARES about this…. we have another gay mayor running the show, he just an ugly one. This city needs to embrace the gay dollar because the gay dollar is MUCH MUCH more powerful than any other monetary unit worldwide. Gays know how to travel in style and support cities that support them!

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