Rep. Antonio To Introduce Equal Housing And Employment Bill
Ohio Fairness Act would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity

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

“An individual’s ability to pursue a career, enjoy safe housing, and be a contributing member of society should not be based upon one’s sexual orientation,” said Antonio. “While our country has taken an historic step toward equality with the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, an Ohioan can still get married in the morning and get fired from their job in the afternoon just because of who they are or whom they love. That is not acceptable.”

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

“Many companies understand that laws and policies that allow for discrimination against a class of people act as a barrier to attracting the best and brightest talent to our state,” said Antonio. “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. The public believes in equal protection for all citizens, and now it’s 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 five 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. This is the third time Rep. Antonio has introduced an equal protection measure. The Lakewood lawmaker was joined at the press conference today by Equality Ohio Managing Director Alana Jochum, Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Anita Gray, and several LGBT Ohioans who shared past experiences of being discriminated against at work or in regards to housing because of their sexual orientation. 

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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.