Rep. Antonio Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Increase Hate Crime Protections For LGBT Individuals
Legislation includes "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" under hate crime laws

State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) today introduced legislation to expand the scope of ethnic intimidation law and include specified crimes committed based on a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity along with disability, ethnicity and gender. This legislation also renames the offense of “ethnic intimidation” to “bias-motivated crime”. 

“It’s time for Ohio to join the thirty-six other states that have laws against hate or bias based crimes on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Antonio. “The majority of Ohioans value fairness and do not support hate crimes committed against any group. No one should have to live in fear due to lack of legal protections.”

Under current law, ethnic intimidation is defined as certain offenses based on race, color, religion or national origin. Crimes committed in Ohio based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity cannot be prosecuted as a hate crime unless the offense meets rigid interstate commerce requirements. This legislation will amend and strengthen current law and give law enforcement officials in Ohio the ability to more effectively prosecute hate crimes.

Even though sexual orientation is recorded as a motivator in crime, Ohio remains one of fourteen states that do not have laws that address hate or bias crimes based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Across the nation, 18% of hate crime offenses occur due to a person’s sexual orientation. According to a January 2016 report by the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, the Ohio hate crime rate of 4.1 incidents per 100,000 populations is significantly higher than the national average of 1.8 incidents per 100,000 populations.[1] The same study shows that biased hate crimes based on sexual orientation is the second highest hate crime motivator in Ohio.

Hate crimes fragment communities because they target individuals with the intention of causing fear to a whole community. These crimes are intended to “send a message” that an individual and “their kind” will not be tolerated, many times leaving the victim and others in their group feeling isolated, vulnerable and unprotected. Hateful acts cannot and should not be tolerated under any circumstances.

A bipartisan group of 13 Republican and Democratic lawmakers signed on as co-sponsors during the bill’s introduction.

Featured Posts

Ohio AG Needs To Open Independent Harassment Investigation Of Bill Seitz, Lawmakers Say


State Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) today asked* Ohio Attorney General (AG) Mike DeWine to hire an objective third party to reopen the harassment investigation of Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati). The letter comes after it was reported that Taft Stettinius & Hollister, the law firm which conducted the investigation, donated to Seitz’ campaign and had employed Seitz for 36 years. The investigation concluded that the allegations of inappropriate conduct made against Seitz by a female House employee did not constitute sexual harassment according to the House’s anti-harassment policy and said the complaint may have been politically motivated. The basis of the findings, however, directly conflict with the AG’s anti-sexual harassment training given to state lawmakers and staff prior to the event.


Ohio Republican Majority Writes Discrimination Into Law


State Reps. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) today expressed disappointment with the passage of House Bill (HB) 36, which writes discrimination into Ohio law by allowing ministers not to solemnize marriages that are contrary to their personal beliefs.


Antonio, Burke Ask Kasich To Keep Local Behavioral Health Youth Program Running


State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and state Senator Dave Burke (R-Marysville) today wrote a letter* to Gov. John Kasich asking him to reconsider his administration’s move to shutter Cuyahoga County’s local Positive Education Program (PEP) Connections, a behavioral health program that serves some 500 high-risk youth each day.


Antonio Responds To Latest Ohio Opioid Crisis Report


The lead Democrat on the Ohio House’s Health Committee, Democratic Whip and state Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood), today responded to the latest dire report on Ohio’s statewide opioid overdose and addiction emergency.

The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences released the report “Taking Measure of Ohio’s Opioid Crisis” Tuesday, highlighting the grim realities many in the state are experiencing, but also making a case for greater treatment access and expanded educational and economic opportunities for Ohioans.

“This report confirms that treatment is necessary to stem the tide of this opioid crisis, and clearly we do not have enough treatment options currently available,” said Antonio. “We can do better. We must do better. Taxpayers deserve better economic opportunities, a strong and affordable educational foundation, and greater access to healthcare services – all things that we know will prevent opioid addiction and abuse.”

The report points to low education levels and limited job opportunities as central underlying causes of opioid abuse.