Democratic state lawmakers today called for the state legislature to consider three bills they say will guarantee equal opportunity for gay, lesbian and transgender Ohioans. The renewed push for consideration comes in the wake of the tragic Orlando massacre that targeted the LGBT community and in advance of the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to guarantee marriage equality in America.
“Our state and our country have taken great strides toward true equality over the past several years, but there is still much work to do to ensure LGBTQ members of our community have an equal opportunity to work, have a safe place to call their home and – most importantly – be who they are without fear of intimidation, coercion or violence,” said Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood). “Ohio has an opportunity to create a more inclusive society that promotes freedom and opportunity for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The lawmakers called on majority Republicans to allow full consideration for three bills:
-House Bill 389 – Reps. Antonio, Driehaus – Also known as the Ohio Fairness Act, to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations.
-House Bill 247 – Reps. Driehaus, Phillips – Ban on conversion therapy on minors.
-House Bill 569 – Rep. Antonio – To include sexual orientation and gender identity under “biased-motivated crime.”
“Ohioans know our state is a great place to live, work, and raise a family – and that should be true for all families, gay and straight alike,” said Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati). “No Ohioan should fear losing their job or being kicked out of their home just because of who they are or who they love. As national headlines have taken a darker tenor recently, we have an opportunity to be a beacon of equality, opportunity and freedom in Ohio.”
The lawmakers also announced that they will be hosting regional public forums during the summer months to raise awareness on the three bills and other important LGBTQ issues.
Whether it’s discrimination in housing and employment, lack of legal protection against hate crimes, or falsely portraying sexual orientation and gender identity as a mental illness, members of the LGBTQ community face many challenges to which we as legislators can and should respond,” Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-Albany). “Getting out in the community to engage on these important issues will allow us to hear directly from LGBTQ Ohioans on how we can make our state a more inclusive and welcoming place.”