by Samantha Gellin
116 days ago
Cincinnati’s LGBT community can celebrate another move toward legal equality today — City Council kicked off its domestic partner registry this morning on the steps of City Hall.
The registry is designed to give couples in a domestic partnership a legal record of their relationship. This will make it easier for employers or hospitals to extend health care benefits to partners of employees.
The measure was unanimously passed by City Council back in June.Chris Seelbach, who spearheaded the project and is the city’s first openly gay councilman, called the registry “…one of the last pieces of the puzzle to bring full equality to the laws and the policies to the city.”
Many large companies already offer domestic partner benefits, but the registry will help small companies that don’t have the time or resources to verify a couple’s status.
“The city has taken on the legwork for proving what domestic partnerships are, so that small companies don’t have to come up with a whole variety of ways to determine that,” said John Boggess, board chair of Equality Ohio, an LGBT rights group.
Boggess noted that Cincinnati is the 10th city in Ohio to offer a registry; Toledo, Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland are a few that already do.
Ethan Fletcher, 30, and Andrew Hickam, 29, a couple from Walnut Hills, were the first to sign up on Thursday morning outside of City Hall. “We’re excited that this is actually going to be the first legal document affirming our commitment to each other,” Hickman said.
He and Fletcher are one of six couples suing the state of Ohio in federal court for the right to marry. “This is a great a step towards, eventually, full marriage recognition,” Hickman said.
The registration will run through the City Clerk’s office and cost $45, which is “budget neutral” for the city, Seelbach said. Still, officials were quick to note that the fight towards full equality for Ohio’s LGBT citizens isn’t over. Karen Morgan, steering committee co-chair on Greater Cincinnati’s Human Rights Campaign, said “Ohio remains one of the only states where citizens can be denied housing or employment based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.” In addition, Ohio doesn’t allow same-sex couples to adopt children or transgender people to change their names on their birth certificates.
“We celebrate today with what has happened…but we also realize that there’s still a very long road to go before all Ohioans are valued,” Boggess said.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 10, 2014
A Catholic, all-girls high school in suburban Detroit
fired a gay chemistry teacher after she announced she was pregnant in
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 6, 2013
The Ohio Department of Taxation last week
released separate tax forms that will allow gay couples who live in the
state but got married in another state to jointly file for taxes at the
federal level. But because of Ohio’s constitutional ban on same-sex
marriage, same-sex couples won’t be able to jointly file for taxes at
the state or local level.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 4, 2013
When her pet chicken ate her valuable diamond earring, a
woman in England decided to wait eight years for the chicken to die to
get her jewelry back rather than possibly killing the pet poultry by
removing it surgically. WORLD +1
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Radical anti-abortion group Personhood Ohio tried
fundraising for its cause — to outlaw all abortions — by selling assault
rifles. CINCINNATI -2
by German Lopez
DOMA struck down, more anti-abortion measures added to budget, local employment rises
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act
today in a broad ruling that requires the federal government to
recognize same-sex marriages for couples who reside in a state where
same-sex marriage is already legal. The ruling effectively extends equal
protection rights to same-sex couples. For gay and
lesbian Ohioans, that means same-sex marriage must be legalized in Ohio
before the federal government is required to recognize it. FreedomOhio
is already aiming to legalize same-sex marriage in the state with an
amendment that could be on the ballot this year, which CityBeat covered in an in-depth report here.
Republican state legislators added another anti-abortion measure
to the state budget yesterday, which will require doctors to perform an
external ultrasound for a heartbeat then inform the patient if one is detected. The provision is in addition to other anti-abortion
measures already in the budget, including less funding for Planned
Parenthood, funding for anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers and regulations that will allow the state health director to shut down abortion
clinics. CityBeat covered those measures in further detail here. “This is continuing to go way overboard by a majority obsessed with abortion,” said Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland).
Cincinnati-area employment dramatically increased in May,
up 6,400 from April and 5,400 from the year before, according to new
data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Although the
unemployment rate went up between April and May, it went down year over
year — the measure economists prefer to look at to control for seasonal
factors, such as hiring picking up during the summer because of outdoors
work.StateImpact Ohio says the new tax plan in the proposed 2014-2015 budget could make it more difficult
to pass future school levies. The plan cuts income taxes for all
Ohioans and particularly business owners, but it raises sales and
property taxes to balance the cuts. CityBeat covered the tax plan in further detail here.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
is giving Cincinnati a $37 million loan guarantee for economic and
housing development projects that aim to benefit the region’s neediest.
In a statement, HUD estimated some of the economic development projects
will create at least 350 new jobs.
Cincinnati is continuing efforts to obtain the Wasson Way line, which the city plans to develop into a bike and hike trail.
The other side of the river is getting some love, too: More luxury apartments are coming to Newport.
Cincinnati was ranked No. 9 smartest city in a recent Movoto blog list.
Ohioans may be souring on President Barack Obama. A Quinnipiac University poll found his approval ratings at 40 percent, his lowest grade ever in the state.
Obama proposed an extensive plan to combat climate change yesterday. The plan will not require congressional approval.
The cure for cancer could be found in space. Apparently, microgravity environments are optimal for cancer research.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 5, 2013
In an effort to
differentiate himself from his Democratic opponents, Libertarian mayoral
candidate Jim Berns plans to hand out free marijuana plants at a
campaign event. CINCINNATI -1
by German Lopez
LGBT issue could become point of contention in 2014 race
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald told Outlook Columbus in a May 17 interview that he supports same-sex marriage, drawing a strong contrast to Republican opponent Gov. John Kasich, who is running for re-election in 2014.“I believe in full equality for all Ohioans, and that includes the LGBT community, and that includes issues not just related to marriage, but also employment and housing,” FitzGerald told the magazine, which focuses on LGBT issues.He added, “If it’s on the ballot, I’m going to vote for it. If something comes across my desk when I’m governor, I’m going to sign it.”FitzGerald's position puts him in opposition to Kasich, who previously reinforced his opposition to same-sex marriage and civil unions after implying support for same-sex civil unions in an interview with a local TV news station"The governor’s position is unchanged," wrote Kasich spokesperson Rob Nichols in a March 21 email to CityBeat. "He opposes gay marriage and opposes changing Ohio’s Constitution to allow for civil unions. He’s opposed to discrimination against any Ohioan and, while he may have used the term ‘civil union’ loosely in this instance, he recognizes the existing rights of Ohioans to enter into private contracts to manage their personal property and health care issues."Ohio and the rest of the nation have been moving toward supporting same-sex marriage in the past few years. A poll from The Washington Post in September 2012 found about 52 percent of Ohioans support same-sex marriage, and only 37 percent are against it, with a margin of error of 4.5 points.FreedomOhio, a group advocating for same-sex marriage, is currently gathering signatures and could place the issue on the Ohio ballot as early as 2013 ("The Evolution of Equality," issue of Nov. 28)."FreedomOhio thanks Mr. FitzGerald for his support of Marriage Equality and Ohio's Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom amendment. FreedomOhio asks Governor Kasich to join Mr. FitzGerald and the majority of Ohioans who support the amendment that provides Strong Family Security while also Protecting the Religious Freedom of all houses of worship," wrote Ian James, co-founder of FreedomOhio, in an email to CityBeat. "We are pleased to count Mr. FitzGerald as a supporter of this important 46-word amendment."Update: This story was updated with a comment from Ian James, co-founder of FreedomOhio.
by German Lopez
LGBT hearings continue, local unemployment falls, tax plan may remain in state budget
The U.S. Supreme Court is heading into its second day of hearings on same-sex marriage
today. Yesterday, the Supreme Court held hearings for Proposition 8, a ballot initiative in California that overturned the legalization of gay marriage. Today, the court will hold hearings on the Defense of
Marriage Act, the law that banned same-sex marriage at a federal level. The Washington Post posted more in-depth information about the legal arguments here.
Cincinnati’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate fell sharply
in February, from 8.6 percent in January to 7.5 percent. Unemployment
in Hamilton County also fell from from 7.9 percent in January to 7.1
percent in February, and Greater Cincinnati’s rate fell from 8 percent
to 7.4 percent. The dropping unemployment rates were matched with
more people employed and less people unemployed.
Ohio’s budget director says he thinks the state’s across-the-board income tax cuts will remain
in the 2014-2015 budget, even as lawmakers take out other proposals put
forward by Gov. John Kasich. The plan originally suggested by Kasich
was widely criticized for disproportionately benefiting the wealthy,
which CityBeat covered in further detail here.
Cincinnati is moving toward semi-automated trash collection, which the city has outlined in full detail here.
This spring and summer, approximately 90,000 households will receive a
65-gallon trash cart that will be assigned to each address. As part of
the broader policy, the lids on the trash carts will have to be fully
closed to be collected, and residents will have to call the city to
request a pickup for bulky items. The city says semi-automation will
save money, improve worker safety, free employees for other services,
increase recycling and help keep neighborhoods cleaner and pests out.
In response to USquare development workers not being paid prevailing wage, council members Laure Quinlivan, Cecil
Thomas and Wendell Young are planning to pass a legislation that will
require any construction project using at least 30 percent in city funds
to pay all its workers prevailing wage. “These men were being pressured
to sign documents stating they were paid prevailing wage when it was
closer to minimum wage,” Quinlivan said in a statement. “These workers
lost their jobs when they blew the whistle, and on their behalf, we
intend to end worker exploitation on projects with significant city
UC Health, the University of Cincinnati’s medical wing, says it wants to run ambulances in northern Kentucky.
It recently submitted applications for permission through Kentucky’s
Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which requires providers prove the need for some facilities and services before they can be
Mercy Health will open a downtown clinic on April 1.
The prosecutor has dismissed charges against Punxsutawney Phil, the famous Pennsylvania groundhog who predicted an early spring.
Here is a shark with two heads.
by German Lopez
With voter approval, Washington state embraces new freedoms
This morning, social conservatives around the world dug
themselves into Armageddon-resistant bunkers, preparing for what they
knew was coming. Today, marijuana and same-sex marriage were
being legalized in Washington state.
But the bunkers may have been a waste of time and money,
considering the end of the world didn’t occur. In fact, it seems like a lot
of people are happy with the legal changes, which voters approved on
From the perspective of this CityBeat writer, same-sex marriage would be great. It’s something I wrote about extensively before (“The Evolution of Equality,”
Nov. 28 issue). As a refresher, not only does same-sex marriage bring a
host of benefits to same-sex couples, but it also produces economic
benefits for everyone. A recent study from Bill
LaFayette, founder of Regionomics LLC, found that legalizing gay
marriage would grow Ohio’s gross domestic product, which measures
economic worth, by $100-$126 million within three years.
Marijuana has similar benefits. Not only does it give
people the freedom to put a relatively harmless plant into their bodies,
but it also provides a big boon to state budgets. For Washington, it’s
estimated the marijuana tax will bring in as much as $500 million a
Legalization also creates jobs and economic growth as
businesses pop up to sell the product and customers buy the plant to
toke up. Washington State’s Office of Financial Management estimates the
marijuana market will be worth about $1 billion in the state.
Considering the state is about 2 percent of the U.S. population, that
could be extrapolated to indicate a potential $50 billion nationwide
Still, public use of marijuana and driving while
intoxicated remain illegal. In a press conference Wednesday, Seattle
City Attorney Pete Holmes said, “If you're smoking in plain public view, you're
subject to a ticket. … Initiative 502 uses the alcohol model. If
drinking in public is disallowed, so is smoking marijuana in public.”
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) seems a bit
friendlier. In an email today, SPD told officers to only give verbal
warnings until further notice. The warnings should essentially tell
people to take their marijuana inside, or, as SPD spokesperson Jonah
Spangenthal-Lee put it on the SPD Blotter,
“The police department believes that, under state law, you may
responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a ‘Lord of the Rings’
marathon in the privacy of your own home, if you want to.”
The Washington law also faces possible federal resistance.
Even though the state legalized pot, the drug is still illegal under
federal law. That means the feds can still shut down marijuana
businesses and arrest buyers, just like they have with legal medical marijuana
dispensaries in the past.
In fact, maybe the limitations are what’s keeping the
apocalypse at bay. Maybe social conservatives will get to make use of
those bunkers if the rest of the country catches on to Washington’s