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LGBT Community Response to the Ohio Marriage Amendment
by Tim Marshall Monday, Nov. 08, 2004 at 1:28 PM 216.651.5428 6600 Detroit Avenue

On behalf of many of our leaders of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community groups, the Lesbian Gay Community Service Center of Greater Cleveland issues the following statement in response to the passage of the Ohio Marriage Amendment in last Tuesday’s election.

The passage of this amendment is a defining moment in our history. Our community has been directly attacked. Anti-family extremist groups working to pass the amendment used gay and lesbian people and same-sex marriage to mask the real intention and consequences of the amendment, which is to deny basic rights to all unmarried couples.

Members of our community and our allies have expressed a wide array of intense emotions in response to the passage of the amendment - anger, surprise, shock, grief, disbelief, fear, horror, confusion and more. The list could go on. Whatever the emotion of the moment, however, we all agree on several things.

First, we believe the amendment will not stand. We know that many people who voted for the amendment did not understand the true meaning of the amendment and voted in error. We also know that most people do not favor discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens. We know that the vast majority of public officials in the state opposed the amendment for all the right reasons. We know that the language of the amendment is dangerously vague and will be difficult at best to apply and enforce. We know that an attempt to legitimize inequality and discrimination will ultimately fail the test of equal treatment and justice for all that is the bedrock of the United States Constitution. And – most of all - we know an amendment encoding discrimination in the Constitution of Ohio is simply wrong.

Second, no one really knows yet what this means for the hundreds of thousands of citizens in Ohio – both gay and straight - that will be affected. It probably means that many rights and benefits taken for granted are now in question or have been eliminated altogether. It probably means that unmarried victims of domestic violence have been left even more vulnerable than before. It most certainly means even more damage to Ohio’s struggling economy. Cleveland is the poorest major city in the nation, and although we cannot afford to lose any more jobs or benefits, in all probability will.

Third, we have committed to work together to achieve equality – no matter how long it takes. Unprecedented numbers of groups and individuals came together to fight the amendment, creating a powerful unity among political leaders, clergy, business leaders, and everyday citizens. We are resolved to maintain that unity, gather momentum and carry on our work in the name of justice and in the spirit of a society free of homophobia and gender oppression by challenging this gross denial of rights. We will show the proponents of the amendment that we will not be intimidated, that we have not been defeated, and that we will eventually be treated as equal before the law.

History has proven time and again that human rights ultimately prevail. As a community, we will stand tall together and march toward equality for everyone, strengthened by the conviction that our cause is just and our hearts are true. We will not rest until all LGBT citizens receive the basic human rights extended to every American. It is not our place here to articulate the actions we will take in response to this attack, but rest assured, we will act, and we will ultimately prevail.

For more information, please contact Sue Doerfer at the Center at (216) 651-5428 or visit our web site at

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