Ohio may be discovering that bagging on homos is bad for business

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For the fourth time, state Senator Dale Miller (D-Cleveland) has introduced legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against gays and lesbians in Ohio.

In the past, the chances of his bills passing were akin to Vegas' odds on Jay-Z dumping Beyoncé for Donald Rumsfeld. But something very weird is happening in Columbus: "I think we have a chance to get it passed," says Miller. "It has better support than any other time before."

Historically speaking, this may be the biggest about-face since Viking explorers discovered America, only to decide they weren't that into real estate. After all, the Republican-controlled legislature's previous idea of governing consisted of just two items: passing sweetheart bills for their friends, and holding their annual Bagging on the Homos Days. But after getting crushed in the 2006 elections, they've apparently realized that's not a recipe for continued employment.

They also seem to have discovered this thing called the economy. Companies find recruiting difficult when their opening line is, "Hey, why don't you come work in a state where we're officially supposed to hate you."

So this time around, titans like Procter & Gamble are backing Miller's efforts. Even House Speaker Jon Husted (R-A Medieval Cave Somewhere) seems open to the idea. "They recognize that an inclusive workforce is good for economic prospects," says Miller.

Standing in the way, however, will be the usual contingent from Cincinnati, led by former porn addict Phil Burress' Citizens for Community Values. He argues that gays don't constitute a protected class, since they're getting a ton of airtime on Bravo these days. Plus, downstate Republicans will have to choose between two cherished ideals: Serving their corporate masters, or smacking around homos, which they've always found therapeutic and fun.

But the simple fact that the legislature is even considering the bill is a great leap forward. Forgive Punch for uttering such heresy, but it seems Columbus has put one toe in the water of the 21st century.

Soul Drain
It took them a decade, but Mick Boogie and sidekick Terry Urban have achieved a stranglehold on Cleveland's DJ scene. Between club gigs, radio broadcasts, Cavs games, and a constant stream of mixtapes, it's hard to avoid their pale bald heads if you have a more active nightlife than, say, Regina Brett.

The last few months have seen them traveling to Vegas, Hong Kong, Paris, and New Orleans (for the NBA All-Star game). So it should come as no surprise that they're about to embark on that rite of passage of every Clevelander who's reached the top of his local game: the move to Brooklyn.

"You can only further your career so much here," says Urban, reached on his cell while, naturally, lying on a beach in Puerto Rico. "For us to get that real money — like Tom Cruise or Paul McCartney's wedding, or the Cannes film festival — we need to get into the New York market."

In June, the duo will bolt for the land of tapered jeans, men who ride Vespas, and six-dollar PBRs. For most Clevelanders, the Pabst bill alone would be a deal-breaker. But a quick poll of the city's hip-hop mainstays elicits no cries of "sellout!"

"In certain careers, you have to make that decision," says DJ/rapper Garbs Infinite. "It's like a kid graduating high school and going off to college. I love this place, and take it wherever I go, but sometimes people get trapped in this little box called Cleveland, Ohio."

On the upside, their departure opens up a load of top gigs — and a playoff battle to see who will wear their vacated crown. "There's some excitement in the scene about it," says Garbs. But Boogie and Urban plan to bequeath their golden Rolodex to a member of their extended crew, Columbus DJ Steph Floss, who will likely move here to take their old gigs.

It remains to be seen if Cleveland will accept their monarchal approach to succession — or whether Boogie and Urban will tire of paying $3,000 for a one-bedroom former crack den. But to paraphrase Bogart, "If we don't make it, we still have Cleveland," says Urban.

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