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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
June 16, 2006

No stopping Cincinnati Pride

Parade stretches over two miles
from start to finish

Cincinnati--Cool temperatures and intermittent sprinkles certainly did not stop the thousands who celebrated Cincinnati Gay Pride weekend on June 10 and 11. The slogan of �There is No Stopping Us Now� applied to both the weather and an upcoming battle for GLBT rights on the November ballot.

A week of buildup activities led to the pep rally at Burnet Woods on Sunday and a parade through the streets of Clifton with more than 80 cars. The parade lasted over an hour and a half, covering nearly the entire two-mile distance between the rally site and the ending festival in Northside.

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory issued and read a Pride proclamation. Dean Forster of Northern Kentucky Fairness Alliance represented Covington Mayor Irvin T. �Butch� Callery, who issued a similar Pride proclamation.

Cincinnati councilor David Crowley, author of this year�s ordinance protecting GLBT people from discrimination in housing and employment, was voted the grand marshal for this year Pride Parade. Crowley also spoke at the rally.

John Zeh was honored by a tribute at the rally. Zeh was active in numerous social justice causes, including anti-racism and homeless advocacy, until his death at age 59 on February 17. He was remembered by attorney Scott Knox, Homeless Coalition executive director Georgine Getty and Barbara Wolf, a social activist and video documentarian, who spoke of the significance of his work. Getty and Wolf pushed an empty wheelchair the length of the parade route to symbolize the one Zeh used after a bus accident in the 1980s.

Pride Alive, the group that runs Pride, is one of the projects hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Cincinnati.

In advance of Pride 2006, over $8,100 was raised for the center at the Funny Bone Comedy Club at Newport on the Levee on May 31. The event was sponsored by the Imperial Sovereign Queen City Court of the Buckeye Empire, a fundraising organization. The theme of the comedy event was �Unity through Diversity� and it brought together an array of comedians and drag performers to entertain 350 enthusiastic guests.

Gene Sell, a local comedian and Cincinnati Court member, coordinated the event for the second year in a row. Last year the same event raised $5,000. Sell has also coordinated many events for other GLBT organizations in the Cincinnati area. In recognition of his contribution to the GLBT community he was awarded the title �Pride Ambassador for 2006,� a lifetime honor granted by Pride Alive.

Against this backdrop of celebration and visibility, those who wish to see Cincinnati again without permanent GLBT protections have made it a ballot issue for this November. After Crowley�s ordinance was passed 81 by City Council, with Chris Monzel casting the sole dissenting vote, it was blocked from taking effect by a referendum filed by Citizens for Community Values.

CCV is same group that in 1993 campaigned to put Article 12 in the city charter, excluding gay, lesbian and bisexual people from any anti-discrimination protection. CCV, of suburban Sharonville, gathered signatures to put the 2006 ordinance before voters in November.

Citizens to Restore Fairness, which successfully campaigned to repeal Article 12 in 2004, is working to retain the anti-discrimination measure. Members believe the majority of citizens will vote in favor of keeping it as passed by council.


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