Big victory for fairness in Bowling Green!
With the final vote now officially tallied, voters in Bowling Green, Ohio, have passed two ordinances protecting people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and public education based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Last year, the city council added those categories to Bowling Green’s Fair Housing Law with Ordinance 7905, and the Unlawful Discrimination Ordinance with Ordinance 7906. The majority of voters backed those ordinances, allowing LGBT people to be protected under the city’s nondiscrimination laws. According to the results released today, Ordinance 7905 passed 52.67 percent to 47.33 percent and Ordinance 7906 passed 51.65 percent to 48.35 percent.
The Task Force contributed to this victory through staff and financial support provided to One Bowling Green, the locally-driven, grassroots campaign that defended the nondiscrimination measures.
Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey joined others in celebrating this win, saying:
This marks an important victory for Bowling Green, where voters have affirmed that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are part of the fundamental social fabric of the city. Bowling Green now joins more than 125 other cities nationwide that have enacted such nondiscrimination ordinances. In affirming fairness, voters also rejected a reprehensible campaign grounded in lies and fear-mongering. Congratulations to One Bowling Green and all the volunteers who ran a strong and successful campaign. Their leadership has led to a victory that creates a stronger and more welcoming city for everyone. We thank all those who stood for fairness in Bowling Green.
Kim Welter, the campaign manager for One Bowling Green, says:
Bowling Green stood for fairness and equality. Now Bowling Green residents will not have to live in fear of being fired from their jobs, denied housing, or discriminated against in public education and public accommodations simply for being who they are. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s training, expertise, financial contributions and full-time, on-the-ground staff were a critical part of our grassroots campaign.
Jane Rosser is a Bowling Green resident and One Bowling Green’s campaign chair:
We began this campaign believing in a community that truly wants every person to be treated fairly, to have a fair chance, to be able to work, live, go to school and play in our community without fear of discrimination. Today those values have been affirmed. This is a day to be proud of our community and to be proud of every person who stepped up to be part of this decision. The real work begins now as we come together as a community to make the message of the ordinances a lived reality. To be a truly fair and welcoming community we must continue to talk to each other about difficult issues. We have to be able to heal potential rifts and disagreements. We have to create a community where we do not need ordinances for every person, whether they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or straight, to be valued, cared about, and welcomed. Where being different is seen as an asset not something to fear. And, where every family is valued and every child is celebrated.
More about our work in Bowling Green
The Task Force has invested significantly in supporting its partner, One Bowling Green, to build a strong campaign, including:
• Contributing $20,000 in cash.
• Paying for a full-time consultant to serve as the campaign’s field director, and committing an additional full-time organizing fellow to work on the ground for the final two months.
• Dedicating a full-time Task Force organizer for six months to serve as a senior consultant to the campaign. Sending an additional eight staff to work on the ground to ramp up get-out-the-vote efforts during the final two weeks.
• Training local Bowling Green leaders in core skills such as fundraising, volunteer recruitment and voter identification necessary for building a successful campaign.
• Providing ongoing expertise and advice around effective message development and dissemination for the campaign’s paid media program.
Watch Dan Hawes, the Task Force’s director of the Academy for Leadership and Action, on our victory in Bowling Green.