(Remarks as prepared. Time was limited, so highlights only were delivered.)
My name is Michael Dylan Brennan and I am running for mayor of University Heights.
I decided to run for mayor of University Heights because I was dissatisfied with the rate of progress on a number of fronts in our city. Economic redevelopment, our tax base, our safety services (fire especially), our overall lack of bike lanes, among others. One of these others is the failure to update our city’s anti-discrimination laws, especially with regard to LGBTQ individuals. As an attorney who represents victims of employment discrimination, I understand this issue better than many.
In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that the fundamental right to marry extends to same sex couples. Today we still live in country and state where you may marry your partner on a Saturday evening and then be fired for it on Monday morning. And under federal and state law, you will have no recourse. I know you know this, but I’m saying this so you know I know this, too. Our president, congress, governor, and state legislature have not fixed this and they will not be doing anything to fix this any time soon.
This is why it is important for local government leaders to stand up for what is right and implement laws locally to protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination on all fronts. Other cities in greater Cleveland have done this, including Cleveland Heights in 2014. Yes, University Heights expanded its fair housing ordinance in 2012 to prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation, and that was a good start. We can do more, such as addressing employment and public accommodations as well, together with recognizing and protecting gender identity and gender expression in addition to sexual orientation.
As mayor, I would support joining the lead of Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Lakewood, Akron, and other Ohio cities, and work with our city council, business and religious leaders, and concerned citizens, to implement anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ individuals in University Heights.
I am personally unaware of any recent or ongoing discrimination of this kind in our city. It doesn’t mean it isn’t happening, and regardless, we formalize our values in our laws. This is who we are and this is what we stand for. The University Heights I know is the modern forward-looking city, and we should want to make this formal statement, welcoming our LGBTQ neighbors and friends who live, work, play, worship, and do business in our city.
My name is Michael Dylan Brennan, and I respectfully request the endorsement of the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats in my quest to become the next mayor of University Heights. Thank you for your consideration.