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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Cincinnati Council Votes 8 To 1 To Pass Civil Rights Measure Protecting Gays

I visited Cincinnati with friends in 1995, around the time when the City Council and fundamentalists there were falling over themselves to purge the city of any sort of "gay menace." We (I was the only gay person) all agreed — despite the city's gorgeous riverfront and attractive, tree-lined streets — it was one of the most ugly places to visit.

It was heart-warming to learn today that the city has taken a 180-degree turn. This development provides inspiration and hope for the future. Honestly, if Cincinnati can come around — it's only a matter of time for the rest of the country.


Cincinnati's Passage Of Non-Discrimination Measure A Triumph For Fairness

WASHINGTON — Following the November 2004 repeal of a one-of-a-kind anti-gay law, the Cincinnati City Council voted today to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in employment, housing and public accommodations. Led by Equality Cincinnati and local leaders and supported by the Human Rights Campaign, the move ensures fairness for Cincinnatians.


“Cincinnati is a symbol of where American itself is when it comes to fairness,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “In large cities and small towns, on the coasts and in the heartland, Americans want us moving toward equality, not away from it.”


Solmonese continued, “Equality Cincinnati and local leaders, especially Councilman Crowley, deserve enormous respect for their work. In the face of an anti-gay political obstacle sustained by a few, they gave voice to the many. ”


In November 2004, the majority of Cincinnatians repealed the city’s discriminatory Article XII, which prohibited the city from passing any laws protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The city stood alone in the United States as the only place where such laws were prohibited.


The council voted 8 to 1 to pass the non-discrimination initiative. Some of Ohio’s largest private corporations already prohibit this kind of discrimination, including Nationwide, NCR Corp., Owens Corning and Cooper Tire and Rubber.


Cincinnati joins 76 other jurisdictions prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia prohibit sexual orientation-based discrimination and eight also prohibit gender identity-based discrimination.

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