Monday, July 22, 2019 Medina 74°
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Medina Council passes LGBTQ protections

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    An estimated 150 to 200 people fill City Hall on Monday night for City Council's vote on LGBTQ protections.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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    A group of students hold up letters of support for LGBTQ ordinances Monday night, which was passed by City Council.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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MEDINA –— LGBTQ members of the community will be protected.

City Council passed two ordinances Monday night before an overflow crowd of 150-200 people at City Hall.

Councilman At-Large Bill Lamb said he’s proud of the legislation.

“It’s a good thing for our community,” he said.

The first move was amending Section 541.08 of the codified ordinances of the city of Medina to prohibit intimidation on the basis of sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. It passed 6-1, with Ward 1 Councilman Bob Starcher voting against it.

Then, an ordinance adopting a new chapter 717 of the codified ordinances to prohibit discriminatory conduct on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

It passed 5-2, with Starcher and Councilman At-Large Paul Rose voting against it.

More than 15 people spoke in support on the ordinances, which stretched the meeting late into the night. Council didn’t vote on the second ordinance until almost 10:45 p.m. for a meeting that began at 7:30 p.m.

These ordinances were almost a year in the making since several residents first brought their concept to the Finance Committee.

After numerous rewrites, the legislation finally passed.

“Sometimes you have to take chances,” Council President John Coyne said. “We’re all here together under the same God. Discrimination is never anything appropriate.”

Lamb, a former mayor in Medina, stressed the significance of the ordinances in his political career.

“This to me is the most important (legislation) I’ve voted on,” he said.

“I’m a white, straight male. I’m comfortable in who I am. I want everybody to feel comfortable with who they are.”

Starcher voted against both ordinances.

He wants the U.S. Supreme Court to decide on the issue before the city of Medina.

“I say, let’s wait for them,” Starcher said.

A perfect example of democracy took place in the council rotunda Monday, Ward 3 Councilman Eric Heffinger said.

“This is what democracy looks like,” he said. “We are saying, as a community, you are welcome here. We created a better community.”

One resident, Attorney James Knapp, said he was with a transgender lady who was turned away in a local restaurant.

“(We were told), ‘We don’t seat your kind here,’ “ he said. “That should never happen.”

Not everyone was for the ordinances. Chris Long, of the Ohio Christian Alliance, asked Council to hold off or postpone the vote. He thought it was being pushed through City Council too quickly.

Matt Wiederhold, executive director for Main Street Medina, urged Council to approve the ordinances.

“Refuse to sell me a house because I can’t afford it, not because I’m gay,” he said.

In other news:

  • The city will advertise for competitive bids to award a contract to the successful bidder for the sale and removal of 347 Huntington St. Council’s other option was to offer the house to Medina resident Suzanne Shape for $1.
    The bidding process will take place in the next few weeks, Mayor Dennis Hanwell said.
    One stipulation is that whoever gets the house, they must tear down the basement walls and fill in the basement with dirt.
  • Council will authorize the mayor to advertise for competitive bids and to award a contract to the successful bidder for the $1.2 million South Broadway Street Reconstruction Project.
  • Council voted down possible rezoning of three properties at 216, 222 and 226 S. Jefferson St. from R-3, high density residential to M-U, multi-use.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.


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