State Reps. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Brett Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) today introduced the Ohio Fairness Act, bipartisan legislation to modernize state law to bar discrimination against LGBTQ Ohioans in employment, housing and public accommodations.
“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. This legislation will also provide equity and fairness in the housing market.”
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 great Woody Hayes said it best, ‘you win with people,’” said Rep. Hillyer. “People matter and should be protected in their workplace and in public.”,
Ohio is home to the sixth largest LGBTQ population the country, and nearly 70 percent of Ohioans support LGBTQ-inclusive statewide non-discrimination policies.
A previous version of the Ohio Fairness Act (The Equal Housing and Employment Act) passed the Ohio House of Representatives on Sept. 15, 2009, with bipartisan support.
“Over two dozen localities in Ohio have passed local, LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections. But that only protects about a quarter of Ohioans. You shouldn’t have to move to the city to feel protected from discrimination at work, in accessing housing, and when purchasing goods or services. It’s time for Ohio’s legislators to make a commitment to LGBTQ Ohioans—urban, suburban and rural—that they have the same right to work hard and provide for their families as everybody else. We applaud Representatives Skindell and Hillyer for introducing the Ohio Fairness Act with bipartisan support,” said Alana Jochum, Executive Director of Equality Ohio.
The Ohio Fairness Act awaits a bill number and committee assignment in the Ohio House, where it will receive its initial hearings.