As Cleveland prepares to be flush with Republicans for their national convention next week, the City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve an ordinance that will allow transgender individuals to use almost any restroom in town consistent with their gender identity.
The ordinance ends a special exemption in the non-discrimination law that allowed employers to tell their employees which bathrooms to use, and business owners to do the same for patrons.
The measure goes into effect within ten days, or sooner if Mayor Frank Jackson signs off on it before then, reports FOX 8 Cleveland. Religious organizations will be exempt from the law.
The final draft of the GOP platform objects to the federal government encouraging transgender people be allowed to use bathrooms matching their gender identity as an attempt to “impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people.” It promotes state laws, like HB2 in North Carolina, limiting which restrooms and locker rooms transgender people can use. After first denouncing the law, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump recently stated his support for HB2.
The U.S. Department of Justice and North Carolina are in the midst of a legal battle over the law, helping to propel the issue to nationwide status.
While the timing is notable, efforts to protect the transgender community have been ongoing in Cleveland for the past three years, as Equality Ohio noted in a statement.
“This took a lot of work. Nearly three years of work. Dozens of transgender individuals and allies sharing testimony in support,” they said. “Hundreds of one-on-one conversations with Clevelanders about what it means to be transgender. Two hearings. Rallies. Sit-ins.”
“While national Republican leaders are doing everything possible to relegate LGBTQ people to second-class citizens, the Cleveland City Council is standing up and sending the world a different message — that Cleveland is a welcoming city and won’t tolerate discrimination against transgender people,” JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “We commend city council members for setting a pro-equality example for other cities and states by soundly rejecting the dangerous, fear-mongering rhetoric many anti-equality activists are peddling across the country.”
The GOP platform is anti-LGBT across the board, going after same-sex marriage and parenting and coming out in favor of laws that allow for faith based discrimination like the so-called “religious freedom” laws and the “First Amendment Defense Act.” Even Log Cabin Republicans are offended.
Trump has publicly supported RFRAs and FADA and has said that marriage should be a state issue. He is also, inexplicably, championing himself as a friend to “the gays,” with much objection.
When asked if he would continue the Obama administration’s eight year long tradition of issuing an LGBT Pride Month proclamation, Trump gave one of his favorite answers, that he would “look into it.”
The Democratic platform expresses support for LGBTQ rights both at home and abroad:
Democrats applaud last year’s decision by the Supreme Court that recognized LGBT people — like every other American — have the right to marry the person they love. But there is still much work to be done. LGBT kids continue to be bullied at school, a restaurant can refuse to serve a transgender person, and a same-sex couple is at risk of being evicted from their home. That is unacceptable and must change. Democrats will fight for comprehensive federal nondiscrimination protections for all LGBT Americans and push back against state efforts to discriminate against LGBT individuals. We will combat LGBT youth homelessness and improve school climates, and we will protect transgender individuals from violence. We will promote LGBT human rights and ensure America’s foreign policy is inclusive of LGBT people around the world
A television ad featuring a transgender woman being blocked by a business owner from using the women’s restroom will air during network coverage of both the Democratic and Republican conventions.