Rep. Antonio Moves To Protect LGBT Ohioans From Housing, Employment Discrimination
Ohio Fairness Act would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity

State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) today announced she will reintroduce legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing or public accommodations. Labeled the Ohio Fairness Act, the legislation will add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the lists of classes protected from discrimination under Ohio law. 

“All Ohioans, including LGBT women and men, deserve an equal opportunity to pursue a career, enjoy safe housing and be a contributing member of society,” said Antonio. “Unfortunately, LGBT Ohioans still must live in fear of being thrown out of their homes based on their gender identity, or fired from their jobs based upon whom they love. I believe it is past time for Ohio to embrace true equality for all citizens.”

Ohio remains one of 28 states without clear, inclusive, non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community. Sixteen Ohio cities have already passed non-discrimination ordinances, and 80 of the 98 top employers in Ohio have corporate policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

 “Many of Ohio's leading companies already embrace LGBT equality because they know diversity is good for business and good for Ohio's economy,” said Antonio. “The people of Ohio value fairness and equal protection for all citizens, and it is time for Ohio law to catch up.”

According to a 2013 poll conducted by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, 79 percent of Ohio registered voters believe that laws should be passed banning discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on both sexual orientation and gender identity.

Legislation has been introduced in the last six General Assemblies to protect all Ohioans from losing their job, being denied housing, or being refused public accommodations based on their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Rep. Antonio will have introduced an equal protection measure in each of her four terms in the Ohio House. 

The bill was introduced today and will be referred to committee as soon as next week. 

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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.