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Lobby Day Update

posted May 19, 2011, 3:04 PM by Rusty Lockett

Dear The GLBT Center Cincinnati,

Yesterday, hundreds of fair-minded Ohioans were in Columbus for the sixth annual Lobby Day for Equality.  More than 200 citizen lobbyists met with 122 legislators (out of 132 -- only 10 were unwilling to hear from us).  All 33 Senate districts were lobbied, and 31 of those districts were lobbied by constituents who live in the district.  155 additional people lobbied from home, sending 318 messages to 89 legislators.  More than 100 people attended the closing reception, including dozens of legislators and legislative aides from both parties.  

At the reception, Executive Director Ed Mullen delivered a speech about the pro-equality movement in Ohio and how we can make Ohio a home for everyone:     

“We stand tonight in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium.  This is supposed to be the peoples’ house.  It is supposed to be, but today, in 2011, it is not yet the house for all people in Ohio.

In 2004, our representatives in this house voted to pass a “Defense of Marriage Act”.  Seventy-three representatives and eighteen senators voted for this Defense of Marriage Act, which said that Ohio will only recognize a marriage between one man and one woman and that it is against the strong public policy of the state of Ohio to recognize marriage between two people of the same sex.  

We were told by our representatives in this house that our love, our relationships, and our families are not worthy of recognition under the law.  That the love of people like Ron and Bill who are here tonight and have been together in a loving and committed relationship for 7 years -- they even got married at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Broad Street here in Columbus -- is somehow not as valid as the love between Britney Spears and Jason Alexander, her husband of 24 hours, or the love between Newt Gingrich and any of his three wives.  Not only can’t we get married in Ohio, but Ohio also will not recognize same sex marriages performed legally in other states and will not extend any of the benefits of marriage to same sex couples in Ohio."
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Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown followed with a stirring speech about the power of one person to make a difference.

During the day, the citizen lobbyists met with their legislators to urge them to pass the 
Equal Housing and Employment Act and a Comprehensive Safe Schools Act.  The Equal Housing and Employment Act (EHEA) was passed by the Ohio House of Representatives in 2009 but was ignored by the Ohio Senate.  As a result we have to begin again.  Yesterday's efforts by citizens was the first step towards a new beginning for the EHEA.

Participants ended the day with many stories about interesting conversations during the day.  This was our first opportunity to talk with most of the new legislators who needed to hear our stories about non-discrimination as well safe schools.  Support from those who voted yes on EHEA in 2009 as well as those who pledged to vote yes in the Senate remains strong, and we had conversations with many about reconsidering their no vote in the future.

Legislators heard from citizens about the need for improved anti-bullying and harassment policies in our schools to provide a safe school environment for all Ohio's children. 

Three safe schools bills are currently being considered in the House Education Committee.  Watch for opportunities to encourage legislators to support passage of HB 116HB 155 (and its companion SB 127) and HB 208.

Thank you to all who attended a Lobby Day or lobbied from home.  It is because of the work you do that support for pro-equality legislation continues to grow.  Save the date now for next year's Lobby Day, Wednesday, May 16, 2012.  As soon as we hear more information about the introduction of a new EHEA, we will get that information to you.

Special thanks to our Community Hosts, Sponsors, & Partners:

Equality Host

Consolidated Graphics

Equality Sponsor

Cardinal Health

Tom Grote and Rick Neal

Kegler Brown Hill & Ritter

Community Host

Chester Willcox & Saxbe

Frost Brown Todd LLC

Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio

Ron Templin and Bill LaFayette

Community Sponsor

AIDS Resource Center Ohio


Artz Dewhirst & Wheeler

Jim Elliott and John Behal

Melanie Falls and Tina Posey

Ed and Audrey Kancler

LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland

MJ Hudson - Bailey Cavalieri

Ohio Advocates for Youth

R.L. and Barbara B. Richards

Kim Redfern

Rev. Dr. Michael Castle and Daniel Carl

Marianne Steger and Lisa Zellner

Stonewall Columbus

Trinity Cathedral

Community Partner

ACLU of Ohio

John Corlett

Meral Crane

Cross Creek Community Church, United Church of Christ

David and Mark Cunningham

Curtis Davis

Timothy J. Downing

Equality Federation

Equality Toledo

Rick Incorvati


ProgressOhio Education

Summit County Councilperson Sandra Kurt


Plymale & Dingus

Pamela Reed

The Seidewitz Group


Equality Ohio | 57 Jefferson Ave | Columbus, OH 43215 | 614.224.0400