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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
March 11, 2005

Yellow Springs passes
anti-Issue 1 resolution

Yellow Springs, Ohio--The first official declaration by a government entity against Ohio�s constitutional ban on same sex marriage and other non-marital relationships was passed March 7 by the village of Yellow Springs.

The resolution says the amendment passed in November as Issue 1 is �against village practices and policies of inclusiveness and non-discrimination� 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.�

The measure was introduced by the village�s Human Relations Commission and the citizens group Solidarity Ohio, an LGBT rights organization.

Because it is a resolution, not an ordinance, the village charter allows for introduction and passage during the same meeting. This surprised resolution supporters, who had expected a first reading this week and final passage March 21. Spokesperson Karen Swinger indicated that more people would have been at the council meeting to speak in favor of the resolution, had they realized that.

According to Swinger, residents who spoke in favor of the resolution included Deb Zendlovitz and Gail Cyan of Solidarity Ohio, Dr. Charles Peters, Dale Blanchard representing the Quakers, former village manager Bruce Rickenbach, and business owner Bev Francis.

Council member and Human Relations Commission director Jocelyn Hardman introduced the resolution.

She was joined in the 3-2 affirmative vote by council president Tony Arnett and vice president Denise Swinger.

Members George Pitstick and Mary Alexander voted against it.

According to Swinger and press accounts, Pitstick opposed the measure because he believes it is counter to the wishes of the majority that voted for Issue 1.

In Yellow Springs, however, Issue 1 was defeated 2,238 to 408.

Peters noted this in his remarks, saying that passage of the resolution represents the wishes of Yellow Springs residents.

Cyan, speaking on behalf of Solidarity Ohio, praised council following the vote, saying, �Yellow Springs is the first of hopefully many communities in Ohio to take a stand against institutionalized discrimination.�

The village is located 12 miles northeast of Dayton and is home to Antioch College. It also passed Ohio�s first human rights ordinance that includes 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.

 

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