CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — Cleveland Heights City Council on Tuesday passed three pieces of legislation to bar discrimination in city contracts against the LGBTQIA+ community, ban conversation therapy in the city, and ensure that the city provides parity in its parental leave policy for all city staff.
“Here in Cleveland Heights we turn our values into action,” Mayor Kahil Seren said in a statement after signing the legislation into law. “We fly the Progress Pride Flag as a symbol of our support; but these policies create real change behind the symbolism. I am grateful to Josie Moore, Cleveland Heights City Council Member and CH Councilman Anthony Mattox Jr. for joining me in introducing inclusive parental leave and protection against conversion therapy in Cleveland Heights.”
Below are descriptions of the three pieces of legislation passed Tuesday, along with links to the text of each law:
Ordinance 075-2022: Second Reading. An Ordinance amending Chapter 749, “Fair Practices”, of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Cleveland Heights to prohibit any psychiatric treatment, including conversion therapy, the purpose of which is an attempt to change an individual's sexual orientation; and declaring the necessity that this Ordinance become immediately effective as an emergency measure.
Ordinance 077-2022: Second Reading. An Ordinance enacting a new Section 171.011, Non-Discrimination in City Contracts, to prohibit persons contracting with the City from discriminating against any person based upon the person’s age, race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national original, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or the nonconsensual dissemination of a person’s private sexual images, and providing remedies for violations; and declaring the necessity that this legislation become immediately effective as an emergency measure.
Ordinance 079-2022: Second Reading. An Ordinance repealing Section 139.13 “Maternity Leave” of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Cleveland Heights and enacting a new Section 139.13 “Paid Parental and Childbirth Leave” to provide paid parental leave benefits for full-time, permanent employees.
These new laws are a personal victory for Seren, who is the son of a lesbian couple.
“There was no possible way that based on the way that I was raised that I wouldn’t bring those values to the table for Cleveland Heights,” he said earlier this month.
His mothers, Leslye Huff and Mary Ostendorf, said they are proud to see their son fighting for all marginalized groups, especially a group that includes two women who love and are proud of him.
“If everyone is not welcomed in Cleveland Heights then no one is and that’s the thing that people need to understand, there can be no in group unless everyone is in,” said Huff.
Watch our report from June 8, when this legislation was first introduced:
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