Tag Archives: Equality Ohio

Equality Ohio President Elizabeth Holford Sells Autographed SCOTUS Petitions For $35 A Pop

Equality Ohio


An email sent out to those involved with Equality Ohio one of the lamest of the lame Gay Inc. organizations caught many by surprise this morning when it contained a message from its histrionic executive director Elizabeth Holford  saying that for $35 they can have an autographed (by her) petition to overturn Ohio’s same-sex marriage ban that would have been used if SCOTUS did not rule for same sex marriage.

Holford and her people were among the group that wanted to wait at least 2 years before running any petitions for balloting or lawsuits in Ohio to overturn its same-sex marriage ban, one of the toughest in the country because they “weren’t ready” and took the advice of Freedom to Marry. Also Equality Ohio had nothing to do with the Obergefell case and didn’t even show up to trail in Washington to show support.

Comments on Facebook to Holoford’s Megalomaniac Petition Sale have not been kind to say the least.



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Ohio Grassroots LGBT Activist Battle Equality Ohio and HRC Over 2014 Same Sex Marriage Ballot

David vs. Goliath

On Valentines Day of all days, Equality Ohio, The Human Rights Campaign, and the national organization Freedom To Marry officially announced that it would not support and work with grassroots groups from around the state including FreedomOhio to put gay marriage on the ballot this year and instead wait until 2016.

They state that support likely won’t be high enough to guarantee a win for same-sex marriage until 2016, naming that as their official target date for a ballot initiative. Now  EO, HRC and FTM now want to start afresh gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures, because they’ve decided that they won’t support the same-sex marriage amendment that FreedomOhio, has been circulating since 2012. (Even though Equality Ohio’s helped write the amendment language back in 2011 when the two groups were working together.) Instead EO with FTM want to use the two years to focus on changing Ohioans’ minds through holding town hall meetings and identifying community members who can share stories. (Because we all know that the changing of “hearts and minds” strategy works so well.)

A same-sex marriage loss “would be a major setback, not just for Ohio, but for the movement, because there are many other states similarly situated,” said Elyzabeth Holford, executive director of Equality Ohio. “We can’t fall down on the job.”

FreedomOhio Co-founder and Executive Director Ian James said Ohioans support his amendment . James said national groups don’t know Ohio and his amendment has grassroots support from Ohioans who believe same-sex couples should be able to marry. FreedomOhio representatives have collected more than 650,000 signatures from Ohio voters, with a goal to turn in 1 million signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Only 385,247 valid signatures are required.

A statement sent out by James after Equality Ohio, HRC’s, and FTM’s decision reads:

It is not news that the out-of-touch leadership of Equality Ohio has negative things to say about bringing marriage equality to loving couples in our state. The leaders of Equality Ohio are stuck knee-deep in a negative quagmire, and are betraying their membership. We don’t make progress by sowing fear into the hearts of our biggest supporters,” James said. 

 “We’re focusing on the positive. Our ballot language has been approved by the Ohio Attorney General, the Ohio Ballot Board and the Ohio Supreme Court.  The latest polling shows 56 percent of Ohioans would approve our specific language because it gives a loving couple the legal right to marry and preserves the religious freedom of houses of worship.  On Valentine’s Day, the failed leadership of Equality Ohio attempted to shoot an arrow into the heart of marriage equality and missed.  We’re positive we’re on the right track to bringing marriage equality to Ohio.”

Equality Ohio since its founding in 2004 has been plagued problems including having 5 different Directors in its 9 years in existence one of which who was forced to resign after being arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct after a Columbus Ohio Gay Pride Parade, EO has also been accused of suspected misuse of funds after using donations to move to more palatial offices, and has been accused of having a major disconnect from LGBT citizens of Ohio after refusing to endorse a state constitutional amendment that would repeal the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

NOTE:  Back2Stonewall fully supports FreedomOhio’s 2oi4 balloy initiative and disagrees with EO’s Elyzabeth Holford’s statement that “same-sex marriage loss “would be a major setback, not just for Ohio, but for the movement, because there are many other states similarly situated.”  With all recent major wins in marriage equality coming through the courts and not by ballot a win or a loss in Ohio will force the Ohio same sex marriage question into the courts where it belongs much more quickly and with the precedent set by the Edith Windsor win in the Supreme Court Ohio’s very rigid statewide DOMA will be struck down once and for all.

Gay Marriage Support Increases In Ohio (No Thanks To Freedom To Marry or the Human Rights Campaign)


I have a chip on my shoulder against Freedom To Marry, the organization which “campaigns for the right of same-sex couples to marry in the United States”. That is unless you live in a throwaway state like Ohio or North Carolina where Freedom To Marry totally screwed the LGBT community, because they think that they might not win so it’s a waste of money and time and not worth the effort.

You see earlier in the year “Ohio Freedom to Marry” (no relation) won approval from Ohio’s Ballot Board to move ahead on a proposed amendment legalizing same-sex marriage.  Which is a long shot yes.  But is worth a try never the less.  But Freedom to Marry, the nation’s largest group devoted to the issue of marriage equality, told the Gay People’s Chronicle that it wouldn’t support the effort. because “Ballot measures are expensive and we need to do years of groundwork, hit benchmarks, and get the state to where we can win,”  

But I am sure they never said that to the people of Ohio, North Carolina or Maryland who donated money to FTM in the past that their help was conditional to if it was easy to pass same sex marriage in that state..

So without National Freedom to Marry’s backing, The Human Rights Campaign also refused to back it, and then in typical Gay Inc. style even Equality Ohio did a 360 and went from supporting the ballot initiative to refusing to back it.  (They just had to be in with the A Gay Inc’s after all)

Well today comes the news that without FTM, HRC, or EO support, that while these numbers are still below national polling  37 percent of people in Ohio now support same-sex marriage, while 50 percent oppose it.

While the numbers seems bad.  Thats a 10 POINT JUMP from a similar poll taken 9 months ago in October 2011.

Democrats’ support increased from 46/41 support to a 54/30 majority, and Independents have shifted from opposition (32/51) to support (42/38). A small sample of black voters shifted vastly from opposition (16/63) to support (42/35).  And while favor on the issue of marriage may be below average, 66 percent of Ohio voters do support some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples, such as civil unions.

A 10 point jump with no help in 9 months.  Imagine what the jump would have been with help and support from Freedom To Marry and the Human Rights Campaign?

In the end when we win same-sex marriage rights in Ohio.  And we will.  I want to put Freedom to Marry, the Human Right Campaign, and Equality Ohio on notice right now if they try to seek credit for any victories.

You turned your backs on us when we needed you the most and it won’t be forgotten.   And while some may be nice enough not to call you out in “polite company”.

Remember.  I’m not that polite.

(Oh and btw.  More people read this blog than you think)

Equality Ohio Director Resigns Quietly After Menacing and Disorderly Conduct Arrest Scandal

Equality Ohio Executive director Ed Mullen has “resigned” after being arrested on the night of Columbus, Pride for Menacing and Disorderly Conduct.

In a joint statement quietly sent out by the Equality Ohio Board yesterday:

Yesterday, Equality Ohio accepted the resignation of Ed Mullen, our Executive Director, effective June 29. Since he joined our staff in January 2011, Ed brought tremendous vitality and keen legal insights to our organization, stabilized our operations and financial support, and led the development of a nationally recognized strategic plan. The boards of Equality Ohio owe a debt of gratitude to Ed for his leadership and we wish him the very best in all his future endeavors

Leadership transition planning is underway. The Equality Ohio boards will appoint an Interim Executive Director very soon and charter a national search to find a new leader who will continue the tremendous gains which have been made in the last year.

Mullen was arrested on  the evening of Columbus Pride, June 16th  when police were called to a disturbance at 231 Buttles Avenue.  Upon arrival Mullen was arguing with the victim and after Columbus Police questioned Mullen the became wary of the answers that they were being given by him,  including the fact that Mullen stated that “he was from Chicago and was in town temporarily”.  Columbus Police decided at that point to take Mullen downtown for further questioning at which point Mullen’s became irrate and turned to the victim calling him a “fucking asshole” and threatening him and asying that “the war was on”.  At that point Mullen was taken into custody, held in jail overnight and later released on his own recognizance pending a pretrial.  Mullen was also issued a  Court Order that reads  ”No further acts of violence as a condition of bond,” and was ordered stay away from the prosecutor’s witness.

It is unclear at this time if alcohol was involved.

Mullen an attorney himself,  will be represented by a public defender and his trial is set for June 28th, 2012.

In a brief statement with WBNS in Columbus  Equality Ohio glosses over Mullens resignation and suggest Mullen was a leader in the marriage equality effort when Mullen himself backed out of the orignal Ohio Freedom To Marry Initiative to take a much slower course.

Equality Ohio has been plagued with many problems over the past years including a revolving door where Executive Directors are concerned having 4 different ED’s in the past 6 years and lack of focus and support from the LGBT communities of Ohio

Director of Equality Ohio Arrested For Menacing and Disoderly Conduct In Columbus, Ohio

Ed Mullen lawyer, political activist and Executive Director of Equality Ohio since early 2011 was arrested on June 16th, 2012 for Menacing and Disorderly Conduct in Columbus, Ohio.

Mullen was taken into custody and held in jail overnight and later released on his own recognizance pending a pretrial on June 28 at 9am in Franklin County Judge William Pollitt, Jr’s court.

Back2Stonewall.com contacted the Columbus Police Department for further information and while details are sketchy it appears that on June 16 at 7:21 PM CPD were called to 231 Buttles Avenue in Columbus responding to a call of a disturbance.  Upon arrival Mullen was arguing with the victim whose name is unkown.  Columbus Police questioned Mullen but were wary of the answers that they were being given.  Including the fact that Mullen told the Police Officers that “he was from Chicago and was in town temporarily”.  Columbus Police decided to take Mullen downtown for further questioning at which point Mullen’s turned to the victim calling him a “fucking asshole” and telling him that “the war was on” at which time Mr. Mullen was placed under arrest.

Mullens relationship to the victim is not known at this time.

To be arrested for Disorderly Conduct is bad enough, but Menacing?  For the leader of Equality Ohio — an organization that works for LGBT Equality and has a focus on working to end bullying, to be released from jail under Court Order that reads  “No further acts of violence as a condition of bond,” and to be further ordered stay away from the prosecutor’s witness, is incredibly troubling.

Mullen who was previously the Managing Attorney for Community Integration at Access Living, a Chicago nonprofit that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities.  Since talking the reigns of the failing Equality Ohio.  Mullen has tried to energize the organization but been the subject of some controversy in Ohio LGBT’s community especially for his waffling on Ohio’s Same Sex Marriage amendment petition which he originally supported  but then pulled back his support after finding out that some national LGBT organizations such as Freedom To Marry would not back the Amendment at which time Mullen switched his position to that of FTM and other national LGBT organizations.

Mullen will be represented by a public defender and his trial is set for June 28th, 2012.

June 28th marks the 43rd Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

**UPDATE: 6.21.2012 – Mullens picture and bio were removed from Equality Ohio’s website last night after we first reported his arrest.

A statement from Equality Ohio is due sometime today to “officially” announce Mullen’s resignation.

Ed Mullen’s Criminal Arrest Reporthttp://www.scribd.com/doc/97451604/Ed-Mullen-Arrest-Record

Ed Mullen’s Criminal Case Summary: http://www.scribd.com/doc/97574266/Ed-Mullen-Criminal-Case-Summary

Scandal Plagued Equality Ohio Lobbyist Named Director Of State GOP Party

Another one from the ONLY In Ohio Files.

There’s been a lot of news this morning about Matt Borges who works for the law firm Roetzel & Andress and is a hired lobbyist for Equality Ohio. Borges has been named the executive director of the Ohio Republican Party and anti-gay right wingers are up in arms and many gay groups are calling this an evolution within the Republican party on gay issues.  And they both might be wrong.

Borges, recently named to his role by Ohio GOP Chairman Robert T. Bennett, said he will take a leave of absence from the Columbus lobbying firm Roetzel & Andress through the end of the year and will resign as a lobbyist registered with the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee. His leave will begin soon — there’s one little-known bill in the legislature of interest to a client he’d like to see through — and will include a hiatus from lobbying for his 16 clients currently registered with the state. They include the Cincinnati Enquirer, MetroHealth System of Cleveland and Akron public schools.

Here’s the thing.  This is OHIO.  Lawyers and Lobbyist do not have to believe in the causes of their clients.  The believe in MONEY.  And Matt Borges GOP scandal plagued past points to exactly that.

Borges, was connected to an investigation involving the anti-gay then State Treasurer Joe Deters when he was state treasurer in 2004. Borges wound up pleading guilty  to improper use of a public office and was for giving  preferential treatment, including lucrative trades to some brokers doing business with the treasurer’s office.

In 2010 the law firm that Borges works for Roetzel & Andress was soliciting on their website money for clients to attend the Kasich Governor Inauguration and Borges was the firm’s government relations director, and also  executive director of Kaisch’s inaugural committee.   Kasich is also anti-gay.

Borges appointment as Director Of State Republican Party is not a LGBT breakthrough with the GOP and shouldn’t be viewed or reported as such.

He is a paid lobbyist. It is a job. Lobbyists don’t care what the job is as long as they get paid.

There’s no indication that Borges is even gay.  And if he is he’s a just another in a long line of typical HomoCons and if he isn’t he’s just “gay for pay” and Equality Ohio made a huge mistake when they hooked their to wagon Borges and his firm.

Over 250 Same Sex Couples “Mock” Marry To Protest Ohio’s DOMA Law in Cleveland, OH

Thousands of Ohioans gay, straight, and bi-sexual came together to protest the state of Ohio’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage at a rally/protest on the steps of Cleveland’s City Hall with 250 same sex couples participating in a “mock” wedding ceremony which included eight priests and ministers reciting marriage vows to couples in protest 

The afternoon ceremony followed more than an hour of speeches by activists on the steps of Cleveland City Hall, where a gay pride flag flew under the American flag.

Second Gay Bashing Attack Occurs In Ohio Public Schools Within Two Weeks

A second teenager has been beaten by a fellow student  in an Ohio public school because of homophobia within two weeks of each other.

Yesterday a student at Westerville South High School in Westerville, Ohio, was called “fag” and “faggot” and punched in the head several times and is currently undergoing emergency medical testing for a possible concussion.

The student who does not identiy as gay, but does have a lesbian sister  has been harassed for the last four years with little response from the school system.

The victim’s mother, Stacey G states: “Ever since the 5th grade we’ve been dealing with the bullying and harassment. The school is brushing off it’s responsibilities by just suspending the bully.

This comes week after a 15-year-old teenager in Chillicothe, Ohio was severely beaten in his high school class room for being gay. That attack occurred at Unioto High School and was caught on camera as fellow class members watched one teen wait for the victim to enter the room, push him to the ground and continually punch him in the face. 

Equality Ohio Executive Director, Ed Mullen states that the incident proves that policies and training are needed to help end the bullying epidemic in our public school systems. Mullen says:  “All students — gay or straight — need to be protected from attacks and harassment in schools. .

Unlike Chillicothe, the Westerville City School system does have a bullying policy that prohibits bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, among other characteristics. 

The School Day Security and Anti-Bullying Act (HB 116) would amend sections 3313.666 and 3313.667 of the Revised Code to require age-appropriate instruction on and parental notification of public schools’ policies prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying. The bill has passed the Ohio House of Representatives and has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee where it sits waiting.

The victims attacker was only given only a five day suspension from school.

Source:  Equality Ohio