Cleveland’s city council voted 13-7 to provide a domestic partnership registry. The legislation goes to mayor Frank Jackson, who plans to sign the registry into law. It will go into effect 120 days after the mayor signs the bill. According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the vote wasn’t an easy one for several council members:
But several council members reported intense pressure from local pastors, who oppose domestic partner benefits on religious grounds. At one point Monday afternoon, a rattled Kevin Conwell, a co-sponsor of the legislation, seemed ready to change his position. “I had more than 70 calls over the weekend,” Conwell said. Conwell ultimately voted with the majority.
…Councilman Zack Reed, who voted against the registry, said he was lobbied by his pastor, the Rev. Marvin McMickle. Also voting against the registry were Councilwoman Sabra Pierce Scott, Councilman Roosevelt Coats. Pierce Scott said prior to the vote that she had concerns about how the legislation was worded. At a committee hearing, Coats cited biblical passages that he said denounce homosexuality. “Many of you may disagree,” he said. “That’s fine. These aren’t my words. These words are in the Bible.”
Cleveland’s domestic partnership registry seeks to steer clear of Ohio’s draconian constitutional amendment banning all forms of recognition for same-sex couples by being open to same-sex and opposite-sex couples.