Children of Westerville councilmember targeted at home after mom's vote for LGBTQ protections

Valerie Cumming, Westerville city councilmember (WBNS-10TV)
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WESTERVILLE, Ohio -- A local city councilmember says she and her children were targeted at their home because of her support of LGBTQ equality.

Two weeks ago, Westerville's City Council passed a law adding LGBTQ people to the city's nondiscrimination protections.

This week, one of the supporters of that law says her opponents crossed a line by targeting her family.

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Westerville City Councilmember Valerie Cumming calls her vote two weeks ago a proud, emotional one.

"For me, it's as simple as equality," Cumming said. "I wanted to join Columbus and all these other localities and say here in Westerville, everybody is equal. Everyone has equal right to live, work, and play in Westerville."

In the year and a half or so she'd been working on this ordinance, Cumming says council heard a range of opinions from voters: some passionately in favor, some adamantly opposed.

But she never expected what she found on her front porch this weekend.

"On Sunday afternoon I arrived home from our Thanksgiving vacation to find that someone left a bag on my doorstep with two copies of an article titled 'Democrats and their Coalition of the Damned.'"

With a cover letter saying "Happy Thanksgiving from Your Neighbors," the letter says "pro-choice women...should ask themselves, if I had crossed my legs instead of my fingers..." and refers to "…organized sexual deviants demanding acceptance of their perversions by the general culture."

(WBNS-10TV)

"There were two copies of it- one addressed to me, and one addressed to my children," Cumming said. "I have four daughters. And that was nerve-racking for me and for them that someone would come onto our property and leave something addressed to them. I don't ever think coming on to someone's property and leaving anything addressed to their children is fair game."

(WBNS-10TV)

The Ohio Christian Alliance opposes the Westerville law, and hopes to overturn it.

"There's a number of religious liberty issues that need to be addressed in the newly-passed ordinance, and that's what's causing concern with many in the faith community," said Alliance President Chris Long. He says his group plans to attack the law at the ballot box or in the courtroom, not at the homes of council members.

"This is an opportunity to have a civil discourse. There are people on both sides or either side of the issue, and to have a civil discourse. That's what we've always been about as an organization.

Cumming says that's a fight she welcomes.

"I am available as I possibly can be. I hold weekly office hours. My email is public information, my phone number is public information. Please feel free to contact me. I'd like to hear from you. But not via my children and not my coming onto my property without my permission."

Cumming did file a police report, just to document the incident.

She says this doesn't discourage her from taking on another political fight.

In fact, she says it reinforces her belief that this law is necessary.

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