Thursday, March 16, 2006

Cincy Handily Approves Gay Rights Ordinance

The Cincinnati City Council took a step closer to closing the wounds ripped open 13 years ago when right-wing bigots succeeded in passing a public referendum outlawing gay civil rights. By an 8-1 vote, the council approved an ordinance which bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, quite similar to the ordinance approved by the Indianapolis City-County Council last year.

Last night's action by the council was made possible after voters approved a repeal of Cincinnati's ban on gay civil rights in 2004, reversing the action of the city's voters in 1993. The prior ban was the only one in the nation after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar state law approved by Colorado voters in Romer v. Evans.

Leading the opposition to the ordinance was Phil Burress, the leader of Citizens for Community Values, who successfully led the movement to pass the ban in 1993, and who worked for passage of Ohio's constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages in 2004. Comments Burress made to the Associated Press echoed comments made by Eric Miller, Micah Clark and other anti-gay bigots from the religious right in opposing Indy's HRO. "We have a city that is spinning out of control with crime and other problems, and this council wants to pass laws banning hypothetical situations," said Phil Burress. He continued, "There are no cases of this type of discrimination, so why pass a law based on sexual orientation?"

Last night's action by the council may not be the last we hear from Burress and his bigoted friends. Burress, who also leads a group called Equal Rights, Not Special Rights, (where have you heard that before?) thinks the passage of the ordinance is a stepping stone towards the legalization of gay marriages, even though Ohio's constitution makes that a legal impossibility, thanks to Burress. He might just try taking the issue back to the voters again.

Advance Indiana is anxious to see other Indiana communities follow suit. South Bend appears to be the city most likely to enact a change perhaps as soon as this year. We know the folks in Carmel pride themselves in being the crem-dala-crem when it comes to being "cultured" shall we say. The city got quite a black eye a few years back though when it was forced to settle a class action lawsuit over its city police department's policy of stopping motorists "while driving black." Gay rights advocates may have to enlist Carmel-native Ted Allen of "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy" fame to assist in convincing his hometown it really needs a non-discrimination ordinance if it wants to be viewed the way it perceives itself in the places that count.

No comments: