I figured I’d dig around for a little background info on Cincinnati Ohio, where Exodus published a full-page ad in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Thursday.

The Coshocton Tribune reports on efforts to pass a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Petitioners must gather over 320,000 signatures on petitions by August 4 in order to put in on the November ballot. Opponents warn that the amendment is ambiguous and could affect businesses’ ability to provide domestic partner benefits.

The Times Recorder reports that Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell “urged fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate Thursday to pass a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, calling homosexuality ‘a lifestyle choice.'” Leo Radel, a founder of the Dignity chapter in Columbus, responds, “I feel it is innate — it is genetic … I think the science is heading in that direction.”

Stonewall Cincinnati has a synopsis of the history of Cincinnati’s Article XII, which precludes the city, or any of its boards or commissions, from including glbt folks in non-discrimination ordinances, regulations, rules or policies.

A Cincinnati group, Citizens to Restore Fairness is mounting a repeal of Article XII, which can only happen by a vote of the people. It’s on the November 2 ballot; its fact sheet lists ways in which XII has hurt the city, including a loss of $45M in convention and tourism business.

The Enquirer covered the group’s approach to reaching the people in a June 20 article:

In the most sophisticated grassroots political campaign in the city’s history, the Campaign to Repeal Article XII hopes to identify – by name, address and phone number – every one of the 63,001 votes they figure they’ll need to strike the provision from Cincinnati’s charter. It’s the only constitution in the country – federal, state or city – which expressly forbids its legislative authority from passing a gay-rights law.

So far, they’re at 13,500 voters, not including the 255 added to the list Saturday.

The article points out that Phil Burress, who chairs the Equal Rights, Not Special Rights Committee which campaigned for Article XII in 1993, now heads Citizens for Community Values, a Focus on the Family affiliate, which is promoting the Ohio Marriage Amendment.

Cincinnati blogger John Metcalf noted in February that the repeal effort, kicked off by the mayor, was supported by the Enquirer, the business community, and hometown corporate giant Proctor and Gamble, and that the AFA and Coloradans for Family Values, fresh from their 1992 Amendment 2 victory in Colorado, were involved in fundraising and organizing the 1993 passage of Article XII.

This year’s Gay Pride Parade and celebration seemed to be more politically oriented, observed both the Post and the Enquirer. The celebration itself is young — this was the fifth — for a city of 330,000 people.

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