Equality Triumphs in Bowling Green
November 22, 2010 by Sarah Warbelow, Legal Director
Nearly two weeks after election day, the final tally shows that both non- discrimination ordinances passed by the Bowling Green City Council have been retained as law by voters. Back in August 2009, with an overwhelmingly positive vote from the city council, Bowling Green, Ohio, passed two ordinances providing broad civil rights protections. The ordinances expanded the classes protected from discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public accommodations, employment, and public education. Unfortunately, a successful recall petition drive placed both ordinances on the November 2, 2010 ballot for a public referendum. A broad coalition of residents, reflective of the city’s diversity, quickly established One Bowling Green, a campaign to educate votes about the importance of protecting the non-discrimination ordinances. One Bowling Green spent a tremendous amount of time working to turn out the vote among university students. Their efforts tipped the balance. On election day, it appeared that while the housing ordinance had been approved by voters, the ordinance prohibiting discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and education had potentially failed by roughly 100 votes. However, more than 500 provisional ballots still needed counting – many of them having been cast by students. When the final election results were certified, both ordinances passed by a few hundred votes.
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