Guest Blogger

Ohio AG Has Troubling Ties to Anti-Gay Extremists

Filed By Guest Blogger | August 05, 2014 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: anti-discrimination laws, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, Mike DeWine, Ohio, religious freedom, religious liberty, special rights

Editor's Note: Guest blogger Will Kohler is a noted historian, writer, blogger, and owner of A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality.

mike-de-wine-busted.pngOhio Attorney General Mike DeWine is already on the record as being against LGBT civil rights, but in a new political survey sent out by the fringe anti-abortion group Right To Life of Greater Cincinnati, he has pledged that if he's re-elected, he will "work actively" to revoke state laws and local ordinances that upset people's religious beliefs.

That means anti-discrimination laws in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Dayton, Canton, Athens, and other cities might well be in his sights if he wins a second term. It also means he might renew the push for a so-called "religious freedom" bill that was put on hold earlier this year after a nearly identical measure in Arizona caused a national outcry. A similar measure recently passed in Mississippi.

DeWine, a first-term Republican, is facing a challenge in the November 4 election from Democrat David Pepper, a former Hamilton County commissioner and Cincinnati councilman. Pepper has made an issue of DeWine's ongoing use of taxpayer money fighting federal court rulings that have chipped away at Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage.

In the survey for the anti-abortion group, DeWine also said that all levels of government should define marriage as an institution solely for opposite-sex couples.

ProgressOhio has revealed that an arrangement seems to exist between DeWine and Phil Burress of the anti-LGBT group Citizens for Community Values (CCV), which is "officially affiliated" with notorious and nationally recognized anti-gay hate groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association.

After spending years criticizing DeWine for being too liberal, Burress and CCV suddenly changed their tune and publicly endorsed him in the 2010 AG's race. Soon after, Burress's daughter, Stephanie McCloud, became part of DeWine's transition team and would later receive lucrative special counsel contracts with DeWine's office totaling over $100,000 in July and August of 2013 alone.

DeWine enlisted Burress, an extreme anti-LGBT activist, to help build up his credibility with the far right. And he's helped maintain that allegiance by using his office to call in favors for Burress's family and aggressively fighting to maintain the ban on same-sex marriage in Ohio that Burress helped put in place.

This was originally posted at Back2Stonewall.

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