The Ministers, the Dayton City Anti-Discrimination Ordinance and the Future | November 25, 2007

It’s Saturday, at the 2nd Street Market, and I’m talking to one of the vendors when I hear a muffled hello. Turning, I see the HAT moving down the aisle…it’s Mayor McLin. Taking the opportunity in hand, I walk up  and tell her, “I am very glad for the stand that you took Wed at the City Commission meeting in the anti-discrimination ordinance “debate”. ” Smiling broadly, she replied, “Oh, thank you so much”. Ms McLin acknowledged that there had been quite bit of pressure brought to bear on the Commission, but, that she and the other members who voted for the ordinance had concluded the time for discussion was over and a decision needed to be made. I’ll make mention that I was not the only one to make a positive comment on this issue to her. Politics in the air at the Market!

Some may dismiss this slight woman as a “figurehead” mayor, but in my estimation it took a quite a bit of extra spine/courage to stand up to the Interdenominational Ministers Alliance’s assault on the ordinance. This same cabal has opposed progressive initiatives based on questions of sexuality for years. They seem to have a degree of credibility that may not be justified by the actual numbers of their followers, which I think is an open question. And, I don’t mean being able to get 30-40 people to attend a city commission meeting…maybe that is everybody you represent? Those in the “know” about Dayton’s semi-underground political culture are fully aware of the checkered past of some of the leaders of this group and that, in part, is why the extra spine displayed Wed needs to be applauded.

In today’s DDN’s letters to the editor Wilburt Shanklin, representing the minsters group writes:

However dim the City Commission may become, we still believe in open government. We hope the newspaper will place the correct emphasis on our main concern, which is that the Dayton City Commission did not inform or alert the community that this issue was a done deal.We believe laws passed in the dark do not further the cause of justice, but raise numerous suspicions and fracture a community and society.

— Wilburt O. Shanklin

“however dim the Commission may become”??
Um, duh…guess what, the ordinance has been discussed, publicly, been on the city’s Commission meeting agenda and was LONG overdue for passage. Mr Shanklin’s assertions to the contrary, continuing to “drag” this out any longer would only serve to perpetuate the narrowly moralistic and self-righteous viewpoint of a group of religiously addled conservatives who may or may not have much of a following.

The ordinance was NOT passed “in the dark”, it’s passage took place over several meetings, readings, and, with the impetus of YEARS of discussion and wrangling. One more meeting would not have been enough for the ministers, nor would ten. Their position is writ in the kind of stone only a bible literalist could love; like granite, impervious to the prevailing winds of change…

Yet, at some point the discussion at hand IS over. BUT, while the local Taliban moralist’s have lost this particular struggle, they will be back, that much you can be sure of. The question is, will the spine of the secularist government caretakers be stiff enough the next [issue] time around?




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