The Community is happy to introduce a new guest blogger, Gwen Stembridge. Gwen is the Northeast Ohio Coordinator for Equality Ohio and will be providing periodic updates about advocacy efforts around Ohio and the ways you can get involved.
Thank you to The Center for inviting me to be a guest blogger on The Community. Equality Ohio educates and advocates on behalf of LGBTQ Ohioans––you’ll find us in the rooms where decision-makers are doing something that might impact the community in some way. We try to make sure when decisions are being made about us, we’re a part of that process.
There’s plenty of advocacy happening locally, including an activist opportunity for you this weekend! Let’s jump right in.
There’s a new LGBTQ case before the Supreme Court. It’s Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
The plaintiffs are a couple named David Mullins and Charlie Craig who attempted to purchase a wedding cake from defendant Jack Phillips. Phillips declined to serve them. Colorado, unlike Ohio, has a statewide law that protects LGBTQ people from discrimination in accessing goods and services (known as public accommodations).
Decades ago Americans decided that discrimination in public accommodations was wrong––lunch counter protests and the civil rights movement forced Congress to act on that very thing. The issue at hand is whether deeply held religious belief trumps a law that makes discrimination illegal. The legal arguments are much more in-depth than our summary here, and you can read about the history of this issue here.
Join us this Saturday to help businesses be #OpenToAll.
To call attention to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, and the fact that Ohio does not have non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Ohioans, the ACLU of Ohio is hosting an #OpenToAll Canvas this Saturday, December 2 at 11:00am in partnership with Equality Ohio.
We’ll meet up to distribute posters and then go out to local businesses and ask them to display a sign showing that they are #OpenToAll.
In coordination with this small business canvass, we hope to identify new businesses to sign up for Ohio Business Competes, a coalition of businesses throughout the state that support LGBTQ non-discrimination legislation. Details and RSVP here.
Stand up for LGBTQ people in South Euclid on December 11th.
South Euclid could become the 20th city in Ohio to pass LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections at this meeting. At the last meeting, there were people organized by the Cleveland Diocese speaking out against the nondiscrimination law, so we want as many supporters there as the fire code will allow.
Please wear blue to the council meeting, so council and any media present know we’re all there in support. Arrive at 6:45, committee meeting is at 7:00, full council meeting is at 8:00. Add it to your Facebook calendar here.
Note: the people who oppose this ordinance may say things that are hurtful. We will be present and peaceful and encourage you to not directly confront or communicate with the opposition.