COLUMBUS–The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio applauded Governor Ted Strickland for signing an executive order that protects Ohioans working for the state government from job discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. This executive order marks the first time gender identity discrimination has been banned by an Ohio governor and restores an earlier order by former Governor Celeste banning sexual orientation discrimination.

ACLU of Ohio Staff Counsel Carrie Davis said, “This is a wonderful first step for a state that has been ranked dead last in passing legislation guaranteeing fair treatment for LGBT Ohioans.”

Davis went on, "Unfortunately, many Ohioans still face discrimination in private sector jobs, housing and access to public services. The Ohio General Assembly should act immediately to pass legislation that will extend protections to those who are most in need of it."

Despite a long history of anti-LGBT legislation on the state level, various communities have taken action to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2004, the city of Cincinnati repealed Article XII, which allowed employers to discriminate against LGBT employees or possible employees.

Following this victory, the Cincinnati City Council passed a human rights ordinance ensuring that residents will not be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Various other Ohio cities, including Cleveland and Columbus, have passed similar legislation.

These victories in Cincinnati came after many residents realized the laws were negatively impacting the city’s economy and public perception.

Davis added, "The perception of many professional people outside of the state is that Ohio is not welcoming to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals. When businesses and talented professionals look to relocate to different areas, many skip over Ohio because they do not want to deal with possible discrimination. Laws that show that discrimination against LGBT people will not be tolerated can only enhance Ohio’s ability to attract new businesses and professionals."