“We live in a country where freedom of speech and expression are encouraged, we must understand that those freedoms should not impede on the freedom of others—in particular to live without fear of persecution. And while private citizens, business and those who own them have the right to express their views, we must consider what kind of community a business and its owner(s) are trying to create with such blatantly disruptive actions that hold no genuine purpose other than to present a viewpoint of prejudice.
There may be no true legal recourse in this moment; but what we have seen, time and again, is how a community can come together to ensure change happens and sometimes corrective actions are taken. This particular type of incident, while isolated, is not an uncommon tactic of discriminatory expression towards members of LGBTQIA communities. Because anti-discrimination laws do not exist at the Federal level and many states have yet to engage such practices discriminatory acts guised as expression free speech, like this, occur without recourse.
Two particular initiatives that may work to curtail such moments of discriminatory expressions are the Ohio Fairness Act which adds sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to the laws that make discrimination illegal in Ohio and the Equality Act which extends protections for LGBTQ people by amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, the Civil Service Act of 1978, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and title 28 chapter 121.”
It’s heartbreaking and deeply saddening to consider that these individuals chose to live in a community they believed to be welcoming and they’ve been less then welcomed.”
Densil R. Porteous
Interim Executive Director