Bruce Garrett Cartoon

May 20, 2002

News Item:
Phil Burress Power Behind Cleveland Heights Petition Drive

In the wake of the Cleveland Heights City Hall vote to offer health benefits to its workers with same-sex domestic partners, a small group named "Families First" began a petition drive to get the measure. While presenting itself as a local grassroots organization headed by a self professed homemaker named Tracy Moore, recent news reports have revealed that the group is in fact being guided by American Family Association of Ohio chairman Phil Burress.

Burress headed the drive to enact the notorious Cincinnati charter amendment, which specifically prevents the city from enacting any legal protections for gay people. The law is the only one of its kind in the nation, preventing Cincinnati from even considering laws to protect its gay and lesbian citizens from discrimination, or hate motivated violence.

"I got involved in this because I studied the homosexual movement," said Burress, "and found that their plan was to present themselves to the public as victims".

News reports contend that Families First contacted Burress within days after passage of the health benefits measure. Burress has counseled its members three times a week, and has also attended at least one of the city-sponsored community forums.

The petition drive to repeal the Cleveland Heights measure was unsuccessful.

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