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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
June 15, 2007

Three northeast Ohio cities pass Pride proclamations


Cleveland--At least three cities in Northeast Ohio have passed Pride proclamations, shepherded by their gay or lesbian councilors.

Both Cleveland Heights and Lakewood, inner-ring suburbs of Cleveland, passed their resolutions on June 4, put forward by Mark Tumeo and Nickie Antonio respectively.

A week later, Cleveland passed one, introduced by Ward 14 Councilor Joe Santiago.

The trio are the first openly gay councilors in their respective cities, and all were elected in November 2005.

In Lakewood, the main surprise was in the support for the measure. Only Ryan Patrick Demro voted against it, while Michael Dever was absent from the meeting. Council president Robert M. Seelie and at-large councilor Edward Fitzgerald, who have opposed other pro-gay measures in the past, voted in favor of the proclamation.

The resolution proclaimed the week of June 16, the day of the Cleveland Pride parade and festival, as “Dignity of Human Rights Pride Week.”

Calls to the clerk of council of University Heights, another inner-ring suburb, went unreturned, so it is not known if they passed a proclamation as well. The city council appointed an out lesbian councilor, Winifred Weizer, earlier this year.

The city of Oberlin, a firm bastion of liberal political and social thought and home of Oberlin College, also did not pass a proclamation.

Eve Sandberg, a lesbian member of Oberlin City Council, pointed out that there’s not a lot happening in the college town after classes let out just before Memorial Day.

Oberlin does not hold summer sessions, and there are no community-based LGBT groups active in the city of 8,300, less than an hour southwest of Cleveland. Normally, the city would be happy to pass a proclamation honoring a group for their activities, but while the college has many LGBT organizations, the city does not.

There is more to Oberlin’s lack of a Pride proclamation, however.

“I don’t think that anyone would think to bring it forward,” Sandberg opined, noting that even people who “worry about my soul and think two people of the same sex shouldn’t be together still think people should be treated fairly” in Oberlin.

In Cleveland, Santiago had more to be happy about than just the proclamation itself.

The day after the Pride proclamation was passed by city council, he looked up above city hall and saw a rainbow. In fact, he saw two.

“Today as I attended the rally for the Cavaliers and the 100th birthday celebration of [Cleveland Public Power], I was proud to see two Gay Pride flags flying at city hall,” he said, “one at either side. The Cavs’ flag is flying above city hall, which is to be expected.”




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