breaking news

Pee wee coach’s child porn hearing cut short

Dialogue sought on discrimination laws


An effort to expand local non-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation last year failed, but its proponents want to keep the conversation going.

Equality Springfield Community Action ran a full-page ad in the Springfield News-Sun on Sunday inviting Springfield City Commissioners Joyce Chilton, Dan Martin and Kevin O’Neill to a forum at 7 p.m. today in the City Hall Forum, 76 E. High St.

The three commissioners voted against adding sexual orientation to the city’s non-discrimination language in February 2012

“They’ve already made their decision,” said Rick Incorvati of Equality Springfield. “But we don’t feel like that conversation is done. We’re encouraging ways of continuing a dialogue with those commissioners.”

The forum will feature two speakers, including Lynne Bowman of the Human Rights Campaign and Elyzabeth Holford of Equality Ohio, who will discuss lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in Springfield, the state and the nation. The forum is free and open to the public.

Chilton declined to comment on Monday. Martin reiterated his stance that rights decisions should be made at the federal and state level.

“I don’t believe municipalities should determine constitutional rights and responsibilities, including the creation of protected classifications,” Martin said.

O’Neill said he plans to attend, although he hasn’t changed his stance.

“They’re entitled to their opinion,” O’Neill said. “I stand in my position that we have had no proof of and kind of discrimination with regards to jobs and with regards to housing.”

Equality Springfield is a non-profit groups representing the interests of LGBT residents in Springfield and Clark County. In the past three years, the three commissioners haven’t attended an Equality Springfield event, the ad said, despite saying education has a role in addressing discrimination.

“The track record hasn’t been strong,” Incorvati said. “We’re just hoping for change.”

While keeping the dialogue open is important, the group doesn’t plan to pursue legislation again soon.

“Until one of these commissioners provides some indication they think workplace protections and housing protections is something they can get behind, we don’t have any other plans,” Incorvati said. “We’re really kind of stuck with this commission. They’ve spoken, and we’re trying to just keep open the dialogue and keep open the opportunities that maybe there’s a change of heart.”

O’Neill said the issue should be handled by the state legislature, rather than local governments across the state where laws can change from municipality to municipality.

At the state level, state Rep. Ross McGregor, R-Springfield, is co-sponsoring a bill that would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. An identical bill is also being heard in the Ohio Senate.

McGregor said the bill is similar to legislation he’s introduced twice before.

“It’s an issue that’s important, and one I’ll continue to pursue legislatively,” McGregor said. “We’re excited to have the process start again. Discrimination in any form is bad and reflects poorly on our state and communities. I don’t think Ohio should be known as a place where you can be fired for being gay, and currently, that is the case.”

The bill would exempt religious organizations and small businesses without human resource operations.

“(The bill) sends a message that we value everybody for their contributions to the workplace and our communities,” McGregor said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Clark County polling locations change, 2 for Aug. 8 special election
Clark County polling locations change, 2 for Aug. 8 special election

Three Springfield voting precincts will have new permanent polling locations, while two other polling locations will move temporarily for the Aug. 8 special election, according to the Clark County Board of Elections. City precincts 15, 16 and 17 will now vote at the NTPRD Chiller, 301 W. Main St. Voters from those precincts previous cast ballots at...
Bethel Twp. fire department seeks emergency levy for $398K per year
Bethel Twp. fire department seeks emergency levy for $398K per year

The Bethel Twp. Fire Department wants to put an emergency five-year, 2-mill levy on the November ballot, the first time it’s asked for new tax money since 2002. Bethel Twp. trustees are expected to vote tonight on putting the issue on the ballot. If approved by voters, it would generate about $398,000 a year. Bethel Twp. is the most populous...
Would having Sherrod Brown as VP have won Clinton the election?
Would having Sherrod Brown as VP have won Clinton the election?

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown was on the shortlist to run with Hillary Clinton in 2016 and he thinks he would have helped the ticket win the key states that cost her the election. In an interview with The Washington Post’s Ben Terris, Brown said he may have had an impact in the Midwest states that made the difference in the Electoral College. Clinton...
Enon Sand sues Clark County after state gives permit despite concerns
Enon Sand sues Clark County after state gives permit despite concerns

A mining company sued Clark County the same day the state granted it a new mining permit in Mad River Twp., despite significant opposition from neighbors. The lawsuit from Enon Sand and Gravel seeks to bypass the Clark County Board of Zoning Appeals and “protect its right to continue prior nonconforming uses” of the property, according...
Review of $9B in Ohio tax breaks launched under pressure
Review of $9B in Ohio tax breaks launched under pressure

State legislative leaders acted under pressure recently to launch a panel of their own making that’s supposed to investigate the $9 billion-plus in tax credits, deductions and exemptions Ohio doles out each year. Senate President Larry Obhof named his appointees Tuesday to the Tax Expenditure Review Committee lawmakers, and House Speaker Cliff...
More Stories