A proposal to add LGBT protections to a
county charter in Ohio attracted vocal opposition last week.
Cuyahoga County, which includes 60
cities, villages and townships, introduced the legislation in July.
The proposal calls for adding sexual orientation and gender identity
to the county's list of current protections. It would establish a
three-person commission to investigate discrimination complaints.
Fines collected would be used to fund an awareness campaign.
Cuyahoga County is Ohio's second most
populous county, as of 2016. Its county seat is Cleveland.
According to Cleveland alternative
weekly Scene, a public meeting to discuss the proposed
legislation was overrun by opponents.
“Many misunderstood the ordinance as
some sort of bathroom bill,” the
One person testified that the
legislation would “protect murderers.”
Another person claimed that such
protections are a “violation of others' rights.”
One person, who said he was a doctor,
claimed that there were benefits to discrimination.
Many described the legislation as an
attack on religious freedom, an issue courts are currently grappling
with. Several business owners have claimed religious freedom in
refusing to serve LGBT people.
After the legislation was announced in
July, the ACLU gave a lukewarm response, saying that it would only
create “ the illusion of protection” because the commission could
not provide “real and meaningful redress” to victims.