A group of ministers in Cleveland have
fallen short in their effort to abort a gay partner registry from
taking effect, but say they are resolved to ending it.
United Pastors in Mission, a group of
mostly black ministers led by president Rev. C. Jay Matthews of the
Mount Sinai Baptist Church and director Rev. Marvin McMickle of
Antioch Baptist Church, made the announcement on Wednesday.
Cleveland city leaders approved the
registry at a Monday December 8 session by a 13-7 vote.
Cleveland's domestic partner registry
allows gay and straight couples to seek recognition of their union
from the city. Ohio passed one of the toughest gay marriage bans in
the country four years ago. To ensure that the registry does not run
afoul of the state's prohibition it lacks any force of law and
guarantees no protections whatsoever. Any benefits given to couples
would be strictly voluntary.
The failure to collect about 11,000
signatures before the January 5 deadline means the registry will take
effect. Matthews said only a few thousand signatures were collected,
and blamed the loss on the holiday time frame. But the ministers
said they will pursue a second course of action to end the registry.
The “ordinance by initiative”
option laid out by the city charter allows the group to submit
legislation directly to council leaders. It requires only 5,000
signatures and there are no time limits. If the council refuses to
vote against its own measure, then the issue would go before the
Over 70 cities and counties nationwide
offer gay domestic partner registries. Lawmakers in the Mormon
stronghold of Utah will take up the question next month.
Openly gay Councilman Joe Santiago, who
backed the creation of the registry, questioned the resolve of the
ministers, saying he was uncertain how well organized the group was.
“There are activists out there that
are just vehemently against such measures,” Santiago told 'On Top
Magazine'. “They have a perception that this is part of a gay
agenda, the start of a process to allow for gay marriage. And that's
just not true. ... The registry benefits both gay and straight
The ministers say they oppose the
registry on religious grounds.
“That lifestyle goes against God,”
Matthews told a 'Plain Dealer'reporter.