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Golf Manor 'inclusivity ordinance' passes

Posted at 5:03 PM, Nov 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-04 11:19:54-05

GOLF MANOR, Ohio — Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated that the citizens of Golf Manor repealed the inclusion ordinance. Golf Manor village council passed the inclusion ordinance earlier this year. Citizens moved to have it put on the ballot for voters to decide. WCPO regrets the error.

Golf Manor's Issue 10, an ordinance designed to provide protections for residents of all classes, including the LGBTQ community, passed on Tuesday with 74% of the unofficial results. Golf Manor did not have protections for LGBTQ residents or workers included in its village charter.

Golf Manor village council passed an inclusion ordinance earlier this year, but citizens moved to have it put on the ballot for voters to decide upon.

Signs and slogans declaring voters should vote one way or the other on the issue bore very similar messaging, however, creating confusion: Signs persuading voters to vote yes on Issue 10 had the message "Golf Manor is for everyone" while opposing signs said "Keep Golf Manor welcoming to all."

"We want to make sure everyone feels welcome and inclusive," said Eric Pridonoff, a village council member. "So it's like both signs are really right, but at the same time, can't we come to an agreement?"

The 19-page document was predominantly opposed on religious grounds, with those against the ordinance arguing it unjustly infringes on religious freedoms. Those issues were also brought up in a year-long review of the ordinance. As a result of that review, seven religious exemptions were created.

Beyond that, Golf Manor Mayor Stefan Densmore said state and federal laws protect religious institutions.

"Issue 10 provides a local mechanism to hear and attempt to resolve complaints about discrimination in the village," said Densmore.

Pridonoff said his concern was tied to instances when a church operates as a business, or has a business attached.

"I would vote for the ordinance. I just think that instead of having seven specific areas where they say, ‘A religious organization can do this but not that,’ I would like for them to say that a religious organization is not tied to this ordinance," he said.

Even though the ordinance passed, there will be a bit more of a process to work through before it can be implemented.