Two gay candidates on same ballot

LAKEWOOD, Ohio (AP) - Two candidates for City Council are believed to be the first openly gay people to appear on the same ballot in Ohio.

Republican John Farina and Democrat Jeremy Elliott are among 14 candidates for three council seats in the nonpartisan primary election Sept. 30.

Jason Young of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund of Washington, D.C., also said the two, if elected, would become the first openly gay elected officials in the Cleveland area and two of five in Ohio. The group tracks candidates and reports 250 openly gay officeholders nationwide.

Carlo LoParo, a spokesman for the Ohio secretary of state's office, said on Tuesday that the office does not track the sexual orientation of candidates.

Lakewood has about 56,000 residents and a significant gay population. Last month the flying of a gay pride flag at City Hall sparked protests. Three years ago the council rejected a proposal to offer domestic partner benefits to city employees.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)