by German Lopez
Posted In: News
at 10:00 AM | Permalink
LGBT groups, civil libertarians and legislators involved in “big marriage push”
LGBT groups, civil libertarians and legislators are coming
together in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus today to announce Why
Marriage Matters Ohio, a new statewide effort to educate and persuade
Ohioans to support legalizing same-sex marriage.
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry,
explained the campaign’s purpose in a statement: “Why Marriage Matters
Ohio aims to encourage neighbor-to-neighbor conversations across the
state, inviting people to talk about their own individual journeys
toward support of the freedom to marry and their values of respect for
commitment and treating others as we’d all want to be treated. Personal
stories are the best conversation starter — and conversation is the best
way to help people understand that all loving and committed couples in
Ohio, gay and non-gay alike, should be able to share in the freedom to
marry and the security and meaning marriage brings.”
The campaign involves the American Civil Liberties Union
of Ohio, Equality Ohio, Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign. The efforts have been endorsed by faith and business
community leaders, according to the groups.
“Marriage is the ultimate recognition of loving
relationships,” State Rep. Denise Driehaus, a Cincinnati Democrat, said
in a statement. “It's time for Ohio to get down to business and start
respecting all marriages.”
In Cincinnati, Driehaus is announcing the campaign with Jim Obergefell, a
Cincinnati resident who’s having his marriage recognized on his spouse’s
death certificate as a result of a court order in favor of marriage
equality. When issuing that court order, U.S. District Judge Timothy
Black cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier in the year that deemed
the federal government’s anti-gay marriage laws unconstitutional.
Public officials and supporters are lining up in two other Ohio
cities to support the campaign: U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is speaking in
Cleveland, and Elyzabeth Holford, executive director of Equality Ohio, is making the announcement in Columbus.
According to a statement issued by the campaign, the effort is partly in response to recent public polling.
The 2013 Ohio Values Survey from the Public Religion Research Institute
found Ohioans evenly divided on same-sex marriage: 47 percent supported
it and 47 opposed it. But 51 percent said they oppose amending the
state constitution to legalize marriage equality.
Still, the survey findings went against previous polls from The Washington Post and Quinnipiac University, which found a plurality of Ohioans now support allowing same-sex marriages in the state.
Beyond allowing gay couples to share in the same rights as straight couples, same-sex marriages could also boost Ohio’s economic and job growth.
A previous study from Bill LaFayette, founder of Regionomics, LLC,
found that Ohio’s gross domestic product, which measures economic
worth, would go up by $100-$126 million within three years of same-sex
marriage legalization and 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.
The education push comes in time for a broader effort to legalize same-sex marriage. FreedomOhio originally planned to get the issue on the ballot this year, but it delayed the initiative for the 2014 ballot.
by German Lopez
Ohio must recognize gay couple, Qualls knocks pension plan, 1.25 million in state uninsured
A federal judge ruled that a state death certificate must recognize the marriage of a newlywed same-sex couple,
but the order only applies to James Obergefell
and John Arthur. It’s the first time a same-sex marriage is recognized
in Ohio. The two men had the case expedited because Arthur is suffering
from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a deadly neurological disease with
no known cure. Al Gerhardstein, the attorney for the two husbands, says
the ruling could be the beginning of legal challenges from gay couples
inspired by the Supreme Court’s ruling against the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which could put further pressure on Ohio to legalize same-sex marriage. CityBeat covered ongoing efforts to legalize gay marriage in the state here,
although the group in charge of the movement is now aiming to put the
issue on the ballot in 2014, not 2013 as originally planned.
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls in a statement called the tea
party-backed charter amendment that would revamp the city’s pension
system “a wolf in sheep's clothing.” She is also requesting the city
administration study the amendment’s consequences and report back to
City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee on Aug. 5. The amendment
would funnel new hires into a private retirement plan similar to what’s
typically found in the private sector — except, unlike private-sector
workers, city employees don’t pay into Social Security and don’t collect
Social Security benefits from their years with the city. The amendment
was announced less than a week after Moody’s, a credit ratings agency, downgraded Cincinnati’s bond rating in part because of the city’s increasing pension liability.
A poll analysis from the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati suggests more than 1.25 million Ohioans are uninsured,
with about 17 percent of the working-age population lacking insurance.
It also found that Ohioans are increasingly reliant on public programs
to obtain health benefits. The analysis looked at the Health
Foundation’s 2013 Ohio Health Issues Poll.
The results could spur further efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility
in the state, which the Health Policy Institute of Ohio previously found
would save the state money and insure nearly half a million Ohioans
over the next decade. Republican legislators rejected the Medicaid
expansion in the state budget, citing concerns that the federal government wouldn’t be able to uphold its 90-percent funding commitment.
Gov. John Kasich wants to fast track
the I-71/MLK Interchange in part by using revenue from the Ohio
Turnpike’s tolls. Kasich’s recommendations, which must be approved by
the state’s Transportation Review Advisory Council, add up to $107.7
million in state funds.
State Rep. Peter Beck, a Mason Republican who’s facing 16 felony charges of fraud, won’t resign his seat.
Twenty-eight people have applied to become Cincinnati’s next police chief.
With a recent uptick in violence, many have called on the city to
expedite the process of replacing James Craig, the former police chief
who left for Detroit earlier in the year.Despite rising interest rates, Cincinnati-area home sales in June continued their strong trend up.
For-profit entities are opening more online schools in Ohio, with the process set by state legislators to shut out public educators. A previous investigation by CityBeat found online schools tend to do worse and cost more than their peers.
The city administration and social media network Nextdoor are partnering up
to better link Cincinnati’s neighborhoods with the local government.
The network will provide a free website for each of the city’s
neighborhoods, which the city says will allow residents to “to get to
know their neighbors, ask questions and exchange local advice and
recommendations.” City officials plan to use the websites to regularly
reach out to local citizens.
Computer software from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could make the Internet three times faster.
by German Lopez
Posted In: News
at 09:27 AM | Permalink
Local Republican indicted, gay couple sues state, Ohio PAC buying Zimmerman a gun
The speaker of the Ohio House is asking a local state representative to resign after he was indicted on 16 counts of fraud.
State Rep. Peter Beck, a Mason Republican, already faces a maximum of 43 years in
prison if he’s convicted on all the counts, but Ohio Attorney General
Mike DeWine says the ongoing investigation might produce more charges. The
charges are a result of Beck’s alleged actions involving an Ohio
software company called Christopher Technologies, which investors claim
bilked them out of $200,000.
Claiming discrimination, a newlywed same-sex couple is suing the state of Ohio
for failing to recognize their marriage. Jim Obergefell and John Arthur
were married in Maryland, but the couple lives in Cincinnati, Ohio,
where same-sex marriage is banned by the state constitution. The
couple’s attorney claims the state should be forced to recognize the
marriage because of Fourteenth Amendment protections extended to gay
couples by the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Arthur was diagnosed in 2011 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a
neurological disease that causes muscles to rapidly deteriorate, and
he’s currently bedridden as a result. Given Arthur’s health,
the couple will argue for an expedited ruling at a hearing at 1:30 p.m.
today in front of U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black.
The Buckeye Firearms Association is raising money to buy a gun for George Zimmerman,
who was acquitted of second-degree murder in the murder trial of black
17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman’s gun is currently being held by
the U.S. Department of Justice as it investigates further charges.
Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld and 100 members of the
Children’s Defense Fund will meet at Washington Park at 1 p.m. today to rally
against gun violence in Cincinnati. The group plans to march to City
Hall, where they will listen to students’ suggestions for making the city a safer place to visit and reside.
A state representative introduced a bill
that would allow some public university students to forgo traditional
tuition and instead pay for their college education through a percent of
their income for 24 years after they graduate.
An Ohio health aide is being sent to prison for Medicaid fraud.
Ohio gas prices are down this week.
In a desperate bid to save the endangered Sumatran rhino, the Cincinnati Zoo is attempting to breed a brother and sister.
If you think the recent heat has been bad, Popular Science has a humbling list of the 10 worst places to live in the universe.
by German Lopez
Christians, Muslims, Jews come together to support marriage equality
Some of Cincinnati’s religious leaders gathered at a press conference today to endorse the Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment, an amendment from FreedomOhio that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
Pastor Mike Underhill of the Nexus United Church of Christ
(UCC) in Butler County, Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp of Temple Sholom,
Pamela Taylor of Muslims for Progressive Values and
Mike Moroski, who recently lost his job as assistant principal at Purcell Marian High School for
standing up for LGBT rights (“Testing Faith,” issue of Feb. 13), all took part in the event — showcasing a diversity of
religious support for marriage equality.
In a statement, Underhill said UCC was the first major Christian denomination to embrace marriage equality. He added, “All people have the right to lead lives that express love, justice, mutuality, commitment, consent and pleasure.”
The sentiment was echoed by the other religious leaders.
Moroski said in a statement, “I’m
elated to stand here today with these wonderful faith leaders, who
truly, deeply and spiritually believe that two people who love one
another deserve the right to be married.”
FreedomOhio is aiming to get its
amendment on the ballot as soon as November, according to Ian James, the
“Our balanced amendment gives a loving same-gender couple
the right to marry while respecting a religious institution’s freedom to
choose to recognize and perform that marriage or not,” James said in a
CityBeat previously covered the Freedom to Marry Ohio amendment and some of its hurdles with other LGBT groups (“The Evolution of Equality,” issue of Nov. 28).
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 13, 2013
I did truly love the man I thought I was
marrying. I don’t, however, think I would have married him if I were
raised differently. What I mean is: I’m a Christian.
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
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 5, 2012
A Bangladesh woman was forced to remarry the man who
mutilated her by dousing her face with acid after she divorced him for
cheating on her. WORLD -2
by German Lopez
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
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
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.
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Dear Close Male Friends: There have been
times over the years when some or most of you entered into serious,
sometimes long-term relationships. I believe I have been extremely
patient with each of you, understanding that your respective significant
other might be meeting various universal human needs and making your
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I want to thank Joe Wessels for his well written and much needed column on today's newspaper journalism ('Read All About It While You Can,' issue of Oct. 1). My wife and I have seen a continuing decline in the quality and abundance of good journalism in newspapers today.