Ohio Christian Alliance fails in effort to repeal LGBTQ+ protections in Medina

First came the good news: Medina became the 25th Ohio community to pass LGBTQ+ protections in early July, due in large part to the efforts of people like Sandy Varndell.

Then came the bad news: A few days after the legislation was passed, Ohio Christian Alliance, a conservative organization that has a long history of opposing LGBTQ+ rights, announced that they were moving forward to collect signatures to file a referendum in an attempt to repeal the ordinance in a November 2019 election.

But the good news is here to stay: Despite their efforts to drum up signatures and support via scare tactics and bald-faced lies, the “Concerned Citizens of Medina Committee”—with assistance from Ohio Christian Alliance—failed in their attempt to meet the threshold of signatures.

The Medina Board of Elections stated on Monday that 939 signatures were declared valid, falling just short of the 983 signatures required to be on the ballot and far shorter of the 1200 signatures that Ohio Christian Alliance boasted on their website that they had collected.

Even had Ohio Christian Alliance been successful in garnering the requisite number of signatures, the referendum still would not have been eligible for a vote this November as Ohio law dictates that such referenda can only be considered in a general election year.

The news of Ohio Christian Alliance’s failure was met with great joy by members of OutSupport who have worked around the clock to first pass the original protections and then marshal their neighbors’ support against their opponents’ tactics.  

“OutSupport is thrilled with the outcome of the results of the Medina County Board of Elections signature review,” says Varndell. “The nondiscrimination ordinance is now in place, and LGBTQ residents and visitors to Medina are protected in their jobs, homes, and in public accommodations. Medina is a more welcoming place with this law in effect.”

Equality Ohio has been a part of the march towards equality in Medina since the beginning of this process, and representatives are quick to highlight how this example fits into the larger context of the lack of statewide protections across Ohio.

“I am thankful that the residents of and visitors to Medina will enjoy LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections, despite an effort to deny them these basic civil rights,” says Alana Jochum of Equality Ohio. “Equality Ohio will continue to support communities across the state that are looking to advance LGBTQ equality until Ohio’s legislators pass the Ohio Fairness Act, which would protect LGBTQ Ohioans no matter where they live, work or play.”