COLUMBUS— Today, State. Rep. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) reintroduced the Ohio Fairness Act, bipartisan legislation that would protect LGBTQ+ Ohioans from discrimination in employment, housing and accommodations. Rep. Skindell has sponsored or co-sponsored versions of the Ohio Fairness Act every legislative session since 2003.
“As we work to grow our economy and lower unemployment, we must not allow discrimination of any form to occur,” said Rep. Skindell. “Qualified and competent employees can currently lose their jobs because of who they are or whom they love. Ohio should be a welcoming place to attract and retain the most talented workers. Passage of the Ohio Fairness Act fulfills the Ohio Promise as it will make Ohio a welcoming place to live, raise a family, work and retire.”
In June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ+ workers are protected from workplace discrimination under federal law. The Ohio Fairness Act goes further by expanding LGBTQ+ protections to include not just employment, but also housing and services in Ohio.
On Feb. 25, 2021, the U.S. House passed the Equality Act, similar legislation which would provide anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, and federally funded programs. The Equality Act now faces an uncertain future in the U.S. Senate.
The majority of Ohio business owners support adding LGBTQ+ non-discrimination to Ohio law, with more than 50 percent saying nondiscrimination laws improve businesses’ bottom lines. More than 800 leading Ohio businesses and organizations have backed the Ohio Fairness Act, which they say will attract workers, increase investment and grow the state’s economy.
The Ohio Fairness Act now awaits referral to a House committee.