Gay Political Activists Join Boycott - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Mike Gormley

Gay Political Activists Join Boycott

As workers prepare the Cincinnati Convention Center for the new car show, gay political activists ask visitors to stay home.

"We urge people to withhold their spending from the local travel and tourism industry until Article 12 is removed from the city charter," said Ray Ford in reference to a measure preventing the creation of laws based on sexual orientation.

"This is an extremely anti-gay city and is known as such across the country," added Heidi Bruins.

Stonewall Cincinnati supports a boycott at the expense of business gained by hotels and restaurants and, subsequently, many of its gay workers.

"I do understand that some people in the short term are going to have some pain," claimed Mike McCleese, "But all of us in Cincinnati are experiencing pain right now."

But not everyone's taking the same route. A convention of gay musicians and singers will visit in July, including Terry Payne of the Cincinnati Men's Chorus.

"We see this as a time for bridging the gap, for networking, and hopefully making change through this venue and our medium," he claimed.

Last month, Mayor Charlie Luken announced a $200 million plan for expanding the convention center. According to a recent survey, the renovation fails to entice 61 percent of potential visitors or guests.

"There's a perception that Cincinnati doesn't have enough to offer delegates once they get here," said analyst John Kaatz.

"You may build it," warned Ford, "But they will not come."

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