WESTERVILLE, Ohio – Chris Long, President of Ohio Christian Alliance (OCA), spent Tuesday evening with a packed house at a Westerville Tea Party meeting. Long talked about the many battles his organization and conservative Ohioans have been tackling the last few years. His main focus, however, was Westerville’s own showdown with yet another sexual orientation/gender identity (SOGI) ordinance.
Long has been fighting the same issue in Medina. The Ohio Star has written about that city’s attempts to push through non-discrimination and public accommodation laws specifically for LGBT individuals.
Long explained the citizens who are trying to referendum the Medina public accommodation ordinance, which would force all businesses and public venues to allow men and women to use one another’s facilities, including locker rooms and bathrooms, are currently trying to prove enough of the signatures they’d obtained are valid. If they are successful, the referendum will go before the voters in 2020.
The Medina fight directly concerns Westerville, since Westerville City Council is currently considering nearly identical ordinances. One Tea Party activist said they expect a vote in November. Chris Long shared details about how to prepare for a referendum and promised to provide additional information and support as needed.
Long also talked about a victory with the Westerville Patriots which occurred in the City of Stow in 1997. A lawsuit was threatening the city because its seal had a cross and a bible on it. “The city council voted to retire the seal, rather than face a lawsuit from the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union],” Long said.
A citizen-led referendum, much like the ones Long is fighting for in Medina and Westerville, forced the council to keep the original seal. The vote was overwhelming with 67% of citizens choosing to keep their seal over ACLU threats.
Long implored the group, “We have to be successful to show them that we are a Representative Republic, amen Tea Party?”
The audience gave a clear “Amen,” in response.
“And,” Long said, “that we’re going to exercise our rights and they are not the final authority. The people are.”
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