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LGBTQ protections considered again in Medina

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MEDINA — The city of Medina will revisit legislation to protect the LGBTQ community against discrimination.

Months after Medina City Council’s Finance Committee first discussed passage of such legislative protections, the Special Legislation Committee will bring the matter back to the floor at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 in the multipurpose room at city hall, 132 N. Elmwood Ave.

“I think it’s going to be successful,” said At-Large Councilman Bill Lamb, chair of the Special Legislation Committee. The other two members on the committee are Councilmen Jim Shields, Ward 4, and Paul Rose, at-large.

“We are that kind of community. I can’t perceive a reason for ‘why not?’ ” Lamb said Thursday.

During a June discussion, members of OutSupport, a support group for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/queer community, appealed to the Finance Committee to pass the nondiscrimination legislation.

The hope is that Medina will join the roughly 20 other communities in the state that have passed nondiscrimination legislation, including Akron, Cleveland, South Euclid, Kent, Olmsted Falls and Lakewood.

On Tuesday, Cuyahoga County became the first county in Ohio to take the step to protect its LGBTQ residents from discrimination.

Cuyahoga County Council voted to establish countywide LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections. In addition, they created a Human Rights Commission to advance a culture of diversity and inclusion, and to respond to complaints of discrimination.

Lamb, who marched with OutSupport in Medina’s Fourth of July parade, said Thursday everyone was created equal.

“We’ve gone through (these issues) in this country for two centuries,” he said. “This needs to be corrected. It’s a step we need to take.”

If the Special Legislative Committee approves it, the legislation will go straight to Council for a vote.

Lamb said he’s met with the OutSupport group on the language of the proposed legislation. They want to make sure certain protections are in place.

“What a great way to celebrate our bicentennial with the passage of equality legislation, which will extending protections to our LGBT community.”

While city and county governing bodies are taking the stance to enact such protections in their communities, there are currently no state laws that protect the LGBTQ community in employment, housing and other situations.

House Bill 160, known as the Ohio Fairness Act, has been introduced but not passed.

It would bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas of employment, housing and public accommodations.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.


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