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by German Lopez 12.11.2012
Posted In: LGBT Issues, News, Business at 03:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
evolution of equality

Cincinnati Financial Giants Get Zeroes in LGBT Scores

Western & Southern, American Financial Group lag behind national progress

LGBT rights are becoming “the new normal” in corporate America, but American Financial Group and Western & Southern Financial Group are apparently exceptions. Both Cincinnati-based Fortune 500 companies received a 0 percent for LGBT policies in the 2012 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

The index uses LGBT-related corporate policies to determine scores: non-discrimination policies including sexual orientation and gender identity, company-provided domestic partner health insurance, equal health coverage for transgender individuals, organizational LGBT cultural competency, engagement in actions that undermine LGBT equality and other categories. The full rankings, dubbed a “Buyer’s Guide,” can be found here.

In the Greater Cincinnati area, Cincinnati-based Omnicare, Covington-based Ashland and Highland Heights-based General Cable fared only slightly better than American Financial and Western & Southern. The three companies received 15 points for at least including sexual orientation in non-discrimination policies.

Other Cincinnati-based Fortune 500 companies did much better in HRC’s rankings. Procter & Gamble got a 90 percent, Macy’s got a 90 percent, Kroger got an 85 percent and Fifth Third Bank got an 85 percent. The high scores show some companies are providing more to LGBT individuals than local, state and federal governments through equal access to health care and other benefits that aren't written into law.

On a national level, the five low-scoring Fortune 500 companies in Greater Cincinnati show a surprising level of backwardness. In general, the nationwide rankings were very positive this year. In an emailed statement, HRC pointed out 252 companies got 100-percent scores in 2012, up from 13 companies in 1991. As HRC put it, “For American companies, 100 percent is the new normal.”

CityBeat could not reach Western & Southern or American Financial Group for immediate comment. This story will be updated if comments become available.

 
 
by German Lopez 08.01.2012
Posted In: News, LGBT Issues at 02:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
freedomtomarryohio

Ohio Could Profit From Same-Sex Marriage

Study: Marriage equality could lead to $100-$126 million in economic growth

A new study has indicated that legalizing same-sex marriage in Ohio could lead to big economic growth in the state. The study — conducted by Bill LaFayette, founder of Regionomics, LLC — found that Ohio’s gross domestic product (GDP), which measures economic worth, would go up by $100-$126 million within three years of same-sex marriage legalization.

The study also found that the state would sustain 740 to 930 jobs within the first year of legalization, 250 to 310 jobs within the second year and 170 to 210 jobs within the third year.

In Hamilton County, legalizing same-sex marriage would produce $8.2 million in growth, according to the study.

The study found its numbers by looking at the amount of same-sex couples in Ohio and seeing how many would marry, which would lead to using paid marriage services. The study found that there are 19,685 same-sex couples in Ohio, and 9,863 of those couples would marry within three years. In Hamilton County, there are 1,798 same-sex couples, and 899 would marry within three years.

However, since the study only looked at same-sex couples within the state, it did not account for what has been dubbed "marriage tourism." It is possible that same-sex couples from adjacent states could come to Ohio to get married, and that would lead to even more economic growth in the state.

The study is being used by Freedom to Marry Ohio, a pro-same-sex marriage organization, to push the Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment in Ohio. The amendment, if put on a ballot and approved by voters, would legalize same-sex marriage, as well as give religious institutions the ability to refuse any marriages.

Dennis Willard, spokesperson for Freedom to Marry Ohio, says the organization’s goal is to have the amendment on the ballot “as soon as November 2013.” However, Willard says the organization would not stop promoting same-sex marriage until the ballot initiative passed and it intends to “educate the public” on why same-sex marriage would be beneficial to Ohio.

Willard says LaFayette’s study is part of that education, which the organization will use to build support for same-sex marriage.

“From an economic perspective, it (same-sex marriage) just makes sense,” he says. Willard hopes Ohioans can come to understand that as well.


Last week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the economic argument for same-sex marriage when he announced it had produced $259 million in economic growth for his city in just one year.


An interactive Ohio map showing the results of LaFayette's study is available here.
 
 
by Kevin Osborne 03.30.2012
 
 
sarah jones

Morning News and Stuff

Ending months of speculation about why a special prosecutor was investigating her, a Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleader was indicted Thursday for allegedly having sex with an underage student while she was a teacher at Dixie Heights High School in Edgewood. A grand jury indicted Sarah Jones on first-degree sexual abuse and a charge of unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual acts. The charges are felonies that are punishable by up to five years in prison. She resigned from her teaching job in November. Jones won $11 million in a default judgment in summer 2010 arising from a libel lawsuit she filed against Thedirty.com, a gossip website. An online post had claimed Jones had two venereal diseases and was having sex in her high school classroom. The website has asked that the judgment be dismissed, while Jones has appeared on TV shows like ABC’s 20/20 to discuss cyber-harassment.

Cincinnati officials are touting how the violent crime rate in Over-the-Rhine has dropped in recent months, on the heels of the FBI and local police arresting five alleged gang members Thursday that are accused of committing crimes there. Police note there hasn't been a homicide in Over-the-Rhine in the past seven months, adding stepped up patrols partially are responsible..

Gov. John Kasich signed an executive order Thursday that is designed to crack down on human trafficking. His order creates a task force to coordinate statewide rescue efforts, law enforcement investigations and prosecutions, and services for victims. The task force is scheduled to report back to Kasich within 90 days on the problem's scope and how best to address it.

As The Enquirer's parent company this week sheds numerous employees by offering a voluntary “early retirement” severance deal, a union representing reporters at The Dayton Daily News are fighting efforts to replace older, more highly paid workers. The Dayton Newspaper Guild rallied outside the Cox Media Center on Wednesday, as the union resumes contract negotiations with the media company. Guild leaders said newspaper executives are seeking unlimited power to use freelancers to replace professional journalists, along with wanting to abolish job security for its most experienced workers by eliminating seniority-based layoffs. Cox also owns newspapers in Mason, West Chester, Hamilton and Middletown.

A Columbus man is crediting his friend for saving his life after a freak accident involving a turkey. Ohio State University “super fan” John Chubb, who also is known as “Buck i Guy,” was recently driving home on Interstate 79 from Pittsburgh after the Buckeyes’ win over Gonzaga when a turkey crashed through his windshield and knocked him unconscious. Chubb's friend, a retired Columbus firefighter, grabbed the steering wheel and safely brought the car to a stop. (Shades of Arthur Carlson on WKRP in Cincinnati: “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”)

In news elsewhere, a group launching a $3.6 million advertising campaign criticizing President Obama for high gasoline prices is connected to the notorious Koch brothers. The American Energy Alliance is the political arm of the Institute for Energy Research, and sources told Politico that both groups are funded partly by industrialists Charles and David Koch and their donor network. In all, the brothers’ network is aiming to steer significantly more than $200 million to conservative groups for political advertising and organizing ahead of Election Day.

A conservative think tank with ties to local politicians has been drawn into the controversy over Florida teenager Trayvon Martin's shooting death. The unarmed 17-year-old was killed last month by a neighborhood watch volunteer who is expected to use Florida's “stand your ground” law as his defense. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which drafts model legislation for state lawmakers, promoted "stand your ground" laws. A statement issued by ALEC said the law probably is being misapplied in Martin's case: “It does not allow you to pursue another person. It does not allow you to seek confrontation." State Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Green Township) is among ALEC's leaders, as CityBeat has previously reported here and here.

Meanwhile, the police reports from the two officers who first responded to the scene of Martin's shooting have been posted online. They reveal what the officers encountered and how shooter George Zimmerman reacted upon being confronted by police.

Newt Gingrich's recent casual attitude toward his supposed presidential campaign might now have an explanation. The Washington Times has revealed that Gingrich secretly met with GOP rival, Mitt Romney, on Saturday. The ex-House Speaker said he has made no deal to end his bid for the Republican nomination, adding he hasn’t been offered a position in a potential Romney administration in exchange for dropping out. Curiouser and curiouser.

The Human Rights Campaign has obtained confidential documents from a prominent anti-gay rights group that indicates its legislative strategy includes trying to divide African-American and gay voters and pit them against one another. The documents, from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), were unsealed this week in a Maine court case. “The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies,”the NOM report states. “Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.” Seems like that strategy worked with our local NAACP president, Christopher Smitherman.
 
 
by German Lopez 10.10.2012
Posted In: Economy, News, LGBT Issues at 02:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
freedomtomarryohio

Ohio Supports Same-Sex Marriage

New poll shows slim Ohio majority embraces gay marriage

For the first time, a Washington Post poll shows 52 percent of Ohioans support same-sex marriage, and only 37 percent say it should be illegal.

With a margin of error of 4.5 points, it’s possible the September poll could be too optimistic, but the poll shows a sharp contrast to 2004, when 62 percent of Ohioans voted in favor of a constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman.

The poll also found support for same-sex marriage growing in Florida and Virginia. In Florida, 54 percent support same-sex marriage, while 33 percent say it should be illegal. In Virginia, 49 percent support same-sex marriage, and 40 percent want it to be illegal. Both are increases in support in comparison to previous years.

The news comes at a time when FreedomOhio is stepping up its efforts to get an amendment legalizing same-sex marriage in Ohio on the 2013 ballot.

CORRECTION: This article originally credited Equality Ohio for the amendment. The amendment push is being led by FreedomOhio, a different pro-gay marriage organization.

The campaign for Freedom to Marry Ohio, the amendment that would legalize same-sex marriage, previously touted an economic study that showed Ohio could bring in $100-126 million of economic growth within three years of legalizing same-sex marriage and sustain 1,160-1,450 Ohio jobs. In Hamilton County, same-sex marriage legalization would bring in $8.3 million. However, the study did not take into account a phenomenon dubbed “marriage tourism,” which involves same-sex couples visiting a state mostly to get married; so it’s possible the economic impact could be even greater than the study suggests.

The study also found that more than 9,800 out of more than 19,600 same-sex marriage couples in Ohio would marry within three years if it was legal, and nearly 900 out of nearly 1,800 in Hamilton County would marry within three years.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg previously touted same-sex marriage legalization for its economic boost to his city. He said it had produced $259 million in economic growth in New York City.

 
 
by Andy Brownfield 10.11.2012
 
 
news_chris_seelbach

Seelbach Touts Obama's LGBT Record, Urges Early Voting

On National Coming Out Day, Obama campaign releases new ad featuring LGBT activist

On National Coming Out Day, Cincinnati’s only openly gay city councilman told CityBeat that equality for America’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered people would take a hit under a President Mitt Romney.

“On day one (of his presidency) he (Romney) could hurt gay families by reinstating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and hurt security for our country,” Seelbach said. “We need as many people serving as possible.”

Councilman Chris Seelbach spoke to CityBeat as he waited to vote early outside of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Proponents of the measure that prevented openly gay service members from serving in the military have said repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would damage the country’s combat-readiness. 

A study published by the Williams Institute at University of California Los Angeles Law School in September found that there has been no overall negative impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, recruitment, retention or morale.

Seelbach said there would be a stark contrast for LGBT people under President Barack Obama and his GOP rival. He pointed to the Obama administration’s refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court; his vocal approval of same-sex marriage; anti-discrimination measures signed by the president that, among other things, give same-sex partners the right to visit their loved ones in the hospital and make medical decisions.

He said the next president would also likely have the opportunity to appoint new justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court will likely decide the fate of California’s Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage.

"If you care about equality, you've got to vote," Seelbach said. "The easiest way to vote is to vote early."

The Obama campaign in Ohio plans to release a new online ad touting the president’s accomplishments for LGBT people.

The ad, made available to CityBeat, features Zach Wahls, a gay-rights activist born to a lesbian couple via artificial insemination. Wahls is known for his testimony before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee against a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in that state.

In the ad, Wahls touts the president’s accomplishments and exhorts Ohioans to reelect Obama.

“We want to make sure that we’re all doing everything we can this fall to get out, register voters, canvass, knock on doors, get our family members and friends out to the polls so that we can re-elect the best president this country has ever seen on LGBT rights,” Wahls said.

 
 
by Danny Cross 05.08.2012
 
 
bilde

Morning News and Stuff

City Council is considering increasing cab fares prior to the World Choir Games in July as part of an overhaul of the city’s taxi industry. During a Rules and Government Operations Committee meeting Monday, Councilman Wendell Young described the industry as having little regulation and often undesirable experiences, The Enquirer reports. Council last spring removed a city rule that made it illegal to hail a cab. Among the recommendations expected to be made are the standardization of rates, an increase in the number of permanent taxi stands and the visible display of a Customer Bill of Rights.

The two men hired to beat a Columbia Tusculum man over a property dispute admitted in court yesterday to having been paid by Robert Fritzsch to whoop on Tom Nies Jr. The beaters will avoid jail time in exchange for testifying against Fritzsch. The beating was allegedly a retaliation after a court ordered the removal of Fritzsch's addition to his home that blocked the river view of Nies' house. 

Robert Chase is a member of Ohio’s oil and gas commission, in addition to operating a private consulting firm that deals with many of the private companies interested in making mass money off the state’s drilling leases. The Ohio Ethics Commission this week warned Chase that such consulting work could present a conflict of interest, though Chase says he’s not surprised and that he knows what his ethical responsibilities are.

NBC has picked up a sitcom set in Cincinnati starring Anne Heche, who reportedly plays an Indian Hill housewife who believes she can channel God after surviving an accident involving nearly choking on a sandwich (with humorous results?). The show, which will have a 13-episode first season, is titled Save Me.

The Obama administration might be hinting at considering same-sex marriage rights during a second term, but the folks down in North Carolina are having none of it: A state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions is on today’s ballot, despite the existence of a state statute that already outlaws it.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is busting Mitt Romney up for choosing not to address a woman’s suggestion that Obama should be tried for treason.

During an event near Cleveland yesterday, a woman asked Romney if he thinks President Obama is "operating outside the structure of our Constitution," and "should be tried for treason."

Romney did not respond to the treason comment, but instead criticized Obama's recent comments on the Supreme Court -- drawing a rebuke from the Obama campaign.

Romney says he doesn’t correct all the questions that are asked of him and that he obviously doesn’t believe Obama should be tried for treason. USA Today pointed out that the incident is similar to one that occurred during the 2008 election, which John McCain handled quite differently:

It was one of the defining moments of the 2008 presidential campaign: A woman at a rally for Republican John McCain, while asking McCain a question, called Democratic contender Barack Obama "an Arab" who couldn't be trusted.

McCain took the microphone and said, "No ma'am. He's a decent family man ... who I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues." McCain's response symbolized his discomfort with the volatile crowds he was seeing as his campaign faded during the final days of the 2008 race.

A study suggests that fighting obesity will necessitate a broader approach than blaming the individual, likely involving schools, workplaces, health care providers and fast-food restaurants.

Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson has apologized for pretending to have a degree in computer science. Thompson says he’ll update his resume but has no plans to step down.

The U.S. could make a $1.5 billion profit on its bailout of insurance company American International Group, Inc. At least that’s what the Government Accountability Office says.

Google’s driverless cars have received their permits in Nevada. What's next? Drive down every single street in America and photographing it?

 
 
by German Lopez 05.02.2012
 
 
gay_rights_sign_by_the_enabler

City, State Move Forward With Same-Sex Rights

Trend follows other cities, states, countries and a majority of Fortune 500 companies

Cincinnati inched closer to equality after moving forward Monday with a measure that would allow city employees in same-sex and other partnerships to receive health insurance benefits.

With a push by Chris Seelbach, the first openly gay councilman in Cincinnati, the measure passed the finance committee with the support of all council members except Charlie Winburn, who abstained.

The approval came after a city report found that same-sex benefits could cost as much as $543,000 a year if 77 partners took advantage of the benefits.

The report suggested City Council mimic a system already in place in Columbus, which requires partners to prove financial interdependency and that they have been together for six months.

If the measure passes City Council, Cincinnati would be more caught up with other cities, states, countries and companies that already grant health benefits to same-sex couples. Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign estimated that 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies offer health benefits to same-sex couples, including Procter and Gamble and Fifth Third Bank.

Altogether, it seems like a small step toward equality. What’s unfortunate is none of it would be required if same-sex marriage was legal in Ohio. If it was, same-sex couples could get marriage benefits, including health-care coverage.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Tuesday approved the petition language for an amendment that would overturn Ohio’s 2004 ban on gay marriage. The new amendment would define marriage as “a union of two consenting adults, regardless of gender.”

The amendment now moves forward to the Ohio Ballot Board. If approved, it will then require 385,253 signatures from registered voters and, finally, voter approval.

Ohio banned same-sex marriage in 2004 with a majority vote of 62 percent. But Ian James, co-founder of the Freedom to Marry Coalition, told the Huffington Post that he is optimistic things will be different this time, citing recent polls that show the nation is moving toward support of gay marriage.

 
 
by German Lopez 07.31.2012
Posted In: LGBT Issues, News at 09:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
 
 
glaad cfa

GLAAD and Mike Huckabee Face Off

Gay rights groups and conservatives will enact own holidays for Aug. 1

Last week, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced Aug. 1 will be Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Huckabee, who is against gay marriage, wants to celebrate the restaurant chain’s anti-gay marriage stance. But gay rights groups are fighting back. On the same day, gay rights supporters will be running Marriage Equality Day.

The idea behind Marriage Equality Day is that instead of going to Chick-fil-A and buying a combo meal, which is typically about $6.50, supporters should instead donate $6.50 to their favorite gay rights organizations.

The event is being backed by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and Equality Ohio, among other gay rights groups.

The controversy with Chick-Fil-A has been ongoing. Two weeks ago, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy declared his support for the traditional family. A week after, the Jim Henson Company, known for the Muppets, cut its ties with Chick-Fil-A.

But social conservatives are not happy with the backlash against Chick-fil-A, and they have come to the defense of the restaurant chain. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made a stop to
Chick-fil-A late last week, and she tweeted photos of the visit. Palin will be joining Huckabee and other gay rights opponents in Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. During the day, gay rights opponents will be eating at Chick-fil-A to show support for the company’s stance.

Chick-fil-A has long been known for its religious values. The organization closes on Sundays, and the company’s corporate purpose statement invokes God: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us."

In other same-sex marriage news, Democratic sources told multiple news organizations yesterday the Democratic Party would be adopting gay marriage in the official party platform. The new platform echoes President Barack Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage earlier this year.
 
 
by German Lopez 04.19.2013
Posted In: News, LGBT Issues, 2013 Election at 09:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
evolution of equality

Ohio's Support for Same-Sex Marriage Continues to Grow

Senator loses support following shift in favor of same-sex marriage

An April 19 Quinnipiac University poll found a plurality of Ohioans now support same-sex marriage, continuing a trend first noted by a Washington Post poll in September.

With a margin of error of 2.9 percent, the Quinnipiac poll found 48 percent of Ohio voters now support gay marriage, with 44 percent still in opposition. That's an improvement from a Dec. 12 poll, which found 47 percent of Ohio voters were against same-sex marriage and 45 percent favored it.

The latest results varied greatly depending on the respondent's sex. Women supported same-sex marriage 52-40, while men opposed it 49-43.

The poll also found Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, lost support after coming out in favor of same-sex marriage, but Quinnipiac's statement says the drop was likely attributable to a drop in overall Republican support. Portman's approval rating dropped to 40 percent, down from 44 percent in Feb. 28. Respondents had mixed feelings about Portman's same-sex marriage shift: 20 percent said they think more favorably of him, 25 percent said they think less favorably of him and 53 percent said it made no difference.

Even if the small drop is attributable to Portman's new views on same-sex marriage, the shift could be a net gain for the senator through increased campaign funds. After President Barack Obama came out in favor of same-sex marriage last year, his campaign raised $1.5 million in just 90 minutes even as some political pundits criticized the president's move as politically dangerous.

The legalization of same-sex marriage could be on the ballot this year following Freedom Ohio's efforts ("Evolution of Equality," issue of Nov. 28). If approved by voters, Freedom Ohio's proposed amendment would repeal Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage and legalize it while retaining some protections for religious institutions.

A Washington Post poll conducted in September found Ohioans were supportive of same-sex marriage for the very first time, with 52 percent in favor and 37 percent against.

 
 
by 10.27.2010
Posted In: LGBT Issues, Human Rights at 04:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Gay Rights Group Hosts Film

With the recent rash of suicides by gay youth who were harrassed, Equality Cincinnati is sponsoring a screening of the documentary, Bullied: A Student, A School and a Case That Made History, at the Esquire Theatre. After the film, a panel discussion will be held.

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