A lot changed in 2009, especially for the LGBTQ community. The first black president was sworn in this year, promising to be a fierce advocate for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered individuals. Four states legalized gay marriage, however one, Maine, later rejected it through a voter ballot, Measure 1. New legislation was introduced in Uganda that if passed could in some cases put to death anyone found guilty of homosexuality. 2009 marked a beginning for bi-partisan support on gay issues as republican leaders like Dick Cheney, Ted Olson and younger generation republicans announce their support for marriage equality.
Ohio also saw changes in 2009. After a several year long battle, voters finally legalized casino gambling in the state. Ohio’s largest industry, agri-business, has turned in a new direction. The powers of regaluting and standardizing farming livestock has shifted from the state legislature to a new, more private, 13 member board. The state house also passed this year the Ohio Equal Employment and Housing Act, which now waits for a vote from the republican controlled state senate.
Fusion Magazine reporter Simon Husted sat down with three different panels to talk about these issues.
Heidee Miller, Max Harrington, Jason Troyer and Darren Stevenson of PRIDE! Kent, Kent State’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, talks about the status of gay marriage in the nation and Ohio, the resistance in the state senate against the Ohio Equal Employment and Housing Act, and the merits behind President Obama’s title of “Fierce Advocate.”
Bryan Staul, Chadd Smith, Kate Fridley and Mark Miller of Kent State’s College Democrats talks about the slow repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Uganda’s new anti-gay bill and how the United States should respond, and Ohio’s newly passed amendment this November that now legalizes casino gambling.
Greg Allison, Joe Derkin and Steven Scerbovsky of Kent State’s College Republicans talks about the Republican party’s status concerning gay rights and social issues, Ohio republican lawmakers reluctance to vote on equal housing and employment opportunities for LGBT and Issue 2’s passage, which plans to reform the enforcement of livestock regulations.
– Simon Husted