Galion City Council updates equal opportunity and anti-discrimination regulations

By Andrew Carter - [email protected]

GALION — Galion City Council has approved two ordinances that updated local equal opportunity and anti-discrimination regulations.

Ordinance No. 2021-70, according to its preamble, “seeks to establish regulations against discrimination” and prohibits acts of discrimination related to employment; business establishments or public accommodations; educational institutions; and city services, facilities, transactions, and contracts. Council voted 5-1 to approve the ordinance on its third reading during its regular meeting on Tuesday.

“There was three different variables to this ordinance that we were considering,” said Council Member Aaron Ivy, 2nd Ward. “One was the anti-discrimination for employment and housing. The third variable is the one that I really had some questions on as far as public accommodations, and I just want to tell Miss (Kara) Ault (At-large Council Member) thank you for reaching out to the school superintendent and getting clarification on the concerns that (council) has had. I reached out to Mr. (Terry) Gribble at the (Galion Community Center) YMCA.

“There are definitely safety nets — I don’t know if that’s the right word — but considering both sides of the equation: protecting the LGBTQ community as well as being mindful of what I was concerned about is our youth — 13 to 17 year olds. At this point in time,I’m definitely ready to support this ordinance.”

Ordinance No. 2021-71 amends Section 515.02 of the city’s codified ordinances that prohibits discrimination related to housing. The ordinance’s new language was expanded to include “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or physical characteristic.” Those designations were not part of the previous ordinance. The updated language brings the city’s code in line with state law regarding discrimination. Council voted 5-1 to approve the ordinance on its third reading.

“I’d just like to say thank you to all the council for your consideration on this and your openness, I think, to new ideas and those who live in Galion and the positive direction,” Council Member Kara Ault, At-large, said. “I’m just really happy to see this passing tonight. So thank you guys so much.”

Equality Ohio, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, posted the following message on its Facebook page after the council meeting Tuesday night:

“Tonight is an example of LGBTQ+ Ohioans and our allies building the world we wish to live in — one where everyone is treated equally under the law and has the same opportunity to succeed. We continue to lift our voices to the Ohio Statehouse and Capitol Hill to our representatives who have the opportunity to ensure these protections for all by passing the Ohio Fairness Act and the Equality Act. It’s past time to ensure basic rights for LGBTQ+ people. We call on those legislators to follow the leadership of Galion, Ohio! We are stronger together, we are better together.”

Representatives of Equality Ohio attended Tuesday’s meeting to display their support for the ordinances.

By Andrew Carter

[email protected]

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