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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
March 4, 2005

Village to pass resolution against the Ohio marriage ban

Yellow Springs--This southwestern Ohio college town, which 26 years ago passed the state�s first gay and lesbian equal rights ordinance, is now poised to become the first community to officially denounce Ohio�s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

A resolution putting the village on record against the marriage ban is set to get its first reading in village council March 7. It is expected to pass a vote at council�s next meeting March 21.

The measure was introduced by the village�s Human Relations Commission and the citizens group Solidarity Ohio, which has �significant� LGBT representation, according to commission director Jocelyn Hardman.

It says that Article 15, Section 11 of the Ohio constitution, passed in November as Issue 1, is �against village practices and policies of inclusiveness and nondiscrimination� because it threatens the rights of all unmarried couples and creates �an overall milieu of anguish and doubt as to the abilities of same-sex couples to provide for each other and their children in emergency, routine, and legal situations because of denied recognition and protection.�

The resolution also says the constitutional amendment �infringes upon the separation of church and state by imposing moralistic beliefs on civil liberties� and contributes to the decline of the local economy by �discouraging qualified individuals from maintaining or obtaining local residency.�

If passed, the measure also calls on local law enforcement, emergency services, schools, banks, insurance providers, employers and churches to continue to honor the relationships of unmarried couples in order to �protect and care for one another.�

With a population of around 4,000, Yellow Springs is located 20 miles northeast of Dayton and is home to Antioch University.

The village�s voters defeated Issue 1 last fall by a lopsided 2,238 to 408.

Yellow Springs passed Ohio�s first human rights ordinance that included protection on the basis of sexual orientation in 1979. That ordinance protects public and private employment, public accommodations, housing, credit and union practices. Eleven Ohio cities now have similar measures, covering a sixth of the state�s population.

�This resolution is about personal privacy we�d like to see protected here,� said Hardman.

A rally and candlelight vigil is being planned to support the resolution. It will be before the March 21 council meeting, at 6:30 pm at the Bryan Community Center, 100 Dayton St. in Yellow Springs. The council meets at 7 pm in the center.


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