Democrat Chris Seelbach, who spearheaded the campaign to repeal Article XII, picked up an endorsement by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund to run for Cincinnati City Council. Seelbach is the second openly gay person to run for the office.
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund provides strategic and financial support to out candidates running for office at all levels of government. In the November 2010 election, the organization helped elect Jim Gray as mayor of Lexington, Ky., as well as 105 other out candidates.
Article XII was a 1993 amendment to Cincinnati’s city charter banning any sort of legal protections for LGBT people. Citizens for Community Values, a local conservative organization affiliated with Focus on the Family, championed the measure. Local activists lead campaigns to repeal Article XII, and they finally found success with a 2004 voter referendum. While Article XII was enforced, the Greater Cincinnati Convention & Visitor’s Bureau estimates it cost the city more than $45 million lost convention revenue.
Unlike other large cities, which usually elect council members from wards, Cincinnati City Council is elected at-large in a single election, each voter choosing nine candidates. The nine top vote-getters win seats on the council for a two-year term.
Seelbach’s platform focuses on fighting crime and violence, increasing economic development and creating effective public transportation.