by Ken Schneck, Editor
The LGBTQ+ community in Ohio woke up on Wednesday to both an undecided Presidential election as well as the news that the Buckeye State voted for Donald Trump over Joe Biden by almost exactly the same margin as Trump garnered against Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Still, there were five big reasons to celebrate as several LGBTQ+ candidates and one important LGBTQ+ ballot initiative emerged victorious in the 2020 election.
1. The Village of Golf Manor voted overwhelmingly to keep the LGBTQ+ protections they passed in January. The inclusive housing, employment, and public accommodations nondiscrimination ordinance had faced vocal opposition—largely spearheaded by the Orthodox Jewish community, which operates the Cincinnati Hebrew Day School and Golf Manor Synagogue (Congregation Agudas Israel), the oldest surviving Orthodox synagogue in the Cincinnati area—who had gathered enough signatures to put the ordinance on the ballot in the general election. With the vote to keep the ordinance on the books, Golf Manor retains its space on the list of 32 Ohio localities to offer LGBTQ+ protections.
2. Charmaine McGuffey was victorious in her bid to become the first out LGBTQ+ person and the first woman to hold the position of Hamilton County Sheriff. In June’s Democratic primary, McGuffey soundly defeated the incumbent who had fired her in 2016 because she is a lesbian. In a television ad a few weeks before the general election, McGuffey highlighted that her experiences as a woman and a lesbian would make her a better sheriff.
3. Sandra Kurt won her race to remain Summit County’s Clerk of Courts. When Sandra ran for City Council in 2009, she was the first openly LGBTQ+ person to ever run for office in Summit County. Her win in the 2020 election means she will continue her incredible service to the Akron area.
4. Jeff Mackey was successful in his run to become a Probate Judge in Franklin County. With this victory, Mackey becomes first openly LGBTQ+ judge elected in the county.
5. In the Mid-Ohio Valley, just a short hop across the Ohio River, Kim Williams won her election to the Vienna City Council, becoming the first openly LGBTQ+ person in office in Wood County and one of very few out people ever elected in the entire state of West Virginia. In September, Williams was the target of a homophobic attack on social media, but the candidate stayed resolute and ultimately stood tall as the victor.
A large slate of out LGBTQ+ candidates are undoubtedly winners as they bravely put their names forward, dedicated their time and energy to a campaign, and unquestionably inspired countless Ohioans in the process. The Buckeye Flame salutes Dara Adkison, Mark Carr, Craig Covey, Zachary Dickerson, Laurel Johnson, Rob Koons, Marci McCauley, Alaina Swope, and Zach Stepp.
Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame. He is the author of Seriously, What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew (2017), LGBTQ Cleveland (2018), LGBTQ Columbus (2019), and LGBTQ Cincinnati (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.