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City Council Votes NO!

City Council Votes NO!

By Taylor Brown

On Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 the Berea City Council voted on the Fairness Ordinance and when the smoke cleared the ordinance was defeated. The Fairness Ordinance was a movement aimed to end discrimination against homosexuals when it comes to housing, employment and public accommodations. The council gathered in the conference room to discuss different issues brought to their attention, but the Fairness Ordinance was a topic that had been heating up here in Berea for a while now.

On Tuesday, September 16th, 2014, the city of Berea was faced with an opportunity to express their opinions on the Fairness Ordinance. Everyone who expressed themselves were passionate about what they believed in. Those who supported the Ordinance wore blue shirts to signify their position and those who did not support it wore red shirts. It was the same way on October 7th, 2014 when people came out to watch the City Council vote on the Fairness Ordinance.

On the Berea College campus, there are numerous people who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. There are also people here who are adamant about the equality of the LGBT community. Many individuals were willing to express their position on the issue to the public.

Alexys Smiley had this to say: “I do want it to pass. It’s always been weird for me because I was raised to believe something else…but it’s not even about religion or someone’s personal beliefs. It’s about making everyone feel like they belong. I mean, come on, pursuit of happiness guys! Everyone has a right to it!”

The way someone grew up can have a huge impact on their decisions later in life because what they’ve been taught has been ingrained in them for so long by everyone around them. Berea College has such a diverse group of people that it can be a shock for some and not as easy to accept.

Shadia Prater said, “Everyone should have an equal opportunity at whatever they are trying to achieve.”

With a similar attitude towards the issue Tyler Warner said, “I feel like it’s a really good step towards having a safe and accepting community in Berea, which has always been a safe and accepting community. Even if it isn’t a problem, Berea is making a statement saying that discrimination against anyone will not be tolerated.”

Although Berea College has already banned discrimination of any form, the city of Berea has voted against the Fairness Ordinance. Some of the City Council expressed that they they were not against fairness, but they were against what the outcome of the Fairness Ordinance would be, which, according to one council member, would be favoritism.

Jose Ixcoy said, “I don’t like them. I think people should be straight. If they’re a man they shouldn’t act like that. I mean, I wouldn’t have a relationship with them, not even a friendship. If they don’t bother me, I won’t bother them. I don’t care if the Ordinance passes or not. As long as they don’t act against me, I won’t act against them.”

Berea has people from all over who have very different beliefs. Of course there are going to be people who do not agree or have neutral opinions about the Fairness Ordinance being passed or defeated. They are equally as adamant about their beliefs.

Angesom Mezgebo, a student here at Berea College, expressed his beliefs on the matter saying, “I don’t support homosexual activity. I don’t want to discriminate against them, but I don’t support them. Politically it might be right but spiritually it is wrong.”

Dylan Gorski is a senior here at Berea College. He is openly gay, yet he is against the Fairness Ordinance. When asked why he was against the ordinance, Dylan had this to say:

“The Fairness Ordinance doesn’t solve anything; it just creates a fear amongst a different group of people. The problem that this creates is the exact same problem that they’re saying I should fight.  If you walk into a business and the business owner tells you to get out because you’re gay…don’t go to that business anymore and tell your friends not to go there and that causes the business to lose money. This Fairness Ordinance isn’t going to accomplish anything. It just gives anybody that’s now protected under this Ordinance power over someone else and that’s not right. You can’t force people to accept you. My rights end where your rights begin.”

Dylan said that neither side understands each other. According to Dylan each side needs to see what they have in common and not what’s different about each other; we have to love each other and not use force. Dylan encourages anyone who would like to get in touch with him to do so. His email is as follows:

One can see that there are opinions ranging from each end of the spectrum here on campus and within the City Council, and that is only to be expected when a controversial movement occurs. We have yet to see how the Council’s decision will affect the community of Berea, but this vote is sure to have an impact.


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