Ultra-conservative Cincinnati activists withdrew a petition to place an anti-gay initiative on the ballot in November after acknowledging that some of the signatures they submitted were fraudulent and they did not have the required number of valid signatures. The initiative, if adopted by the voters, would have nullified an addition to the city’s Human Rights Ordinance passed by the City Council prohibiting discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of sexual orientation and gender expression.
Just two years ago, Cincinnati voters went to the ballot box to remove an anti-gay provision from the city charter. People For the American Way worked hard to support the successful fairness campaign in 2004, and PFAW Foundation produced an award-winning documentary about the effort. That film, A Blinding Flash of the Obvious, is the heart of an activist toolkit designed to help advocates for fairness learn from strategies that were successful in Cincinnati.
PFAW President Ralph G. Neas released the following statement:
“It’s been fourteen long years, but the people of Cincinnati finally have the anti-discrimination law they deserve. No one should be fired from a job because he or she is gay. The voters rejected discrimination in 2004. The City Council rejected discrimination in March of this year. And now it is official.
“This is the second time in as many weeks that anti-gay ballot initiatives have been rejected because of fraudulent signatures. First in Illinois and now in Cincinnati, those attempting to push discrimination can’t honestly get the signatures they need. The writing is on the wall, and the message is that gay and lesbian Americans are full citizens and entitled to the same legal rights as everyone else.”