COLUMBUS, OH - Today, Ohio Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood), who is Ohio’s sole LGBTQ+ lawmaker serving in the 135th General Assembly,  reintroduced the Ohio Fairness Act (OFA) along with a bipartisan slate of eight ally cosponsors. The Ohio Fairness Act is a pivotal measure aimed at eradicating discrimination against Ohio's LGBTQ+ community by adding sexual orientation and gender identity into Ohio’s existing anti-discrimination law. SB 132 is co-sponsored by Senators Craig, DeMora, Hicks-Hudson, Ingram, Lang, Manning, Smith, and Sykes. This Pride month marks the OFA’s 12th introduction in the Ohio Legislature. 

The Ohio Business Competes coalition, comprising more than 1,300 corporations, local businesses, non-profit organizations, labor unions, and universities, celebrates the introduction of this bill. As a nonpartisan entity, it actively advocates for statewide nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ Ohioans. Coalition organizers spoke out in support of the bill: 

Alana Jochum, Executive Director for Equality Ohio, emphasizes the importance of initiating this legislation now, during the most significant anti-LGBTQ+ General Assembly in recent Ohio Statehouse history. “Equality Ohio knows it is crucial that we seize this moment to foster an inclusive and equitable environment for all Ohioans. This is the most consequential anti-LGBTQ+ General Assembly in Ohio Statehouse history, the urgency to initiate comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation is paramount. By enacting the Ohio Fairness Act, Ohio affirms our commitment to fair treatment, bolstering not only our state's reputation but also its economic prosperity."

James Knapp, Chair of TransOhio, the state's largest transgender equality organization, emphasizes the importance of this moment. “Allowing individuals to express their true selves cultivates greater happiness and productivity. The transgender community boasts a remarkable reservoir of talent, and TransOhio holds deep gratitude for lawmakers who support them, especially in the eyes of today's youth.”

J. Bennett Guess, Executive Director of the ACLU of Ohio added, “As an advocate for civil rights, as a person of faith, and as a gay person myself, I believe Ohio has been on the wrong side of history, but today we are poised to right that wrong by advancing commonsense nondiscrimination protections. The time has come for Ohio lawmakers to do the fair thing, to pass this legislation that will make our state more inclusive, safe and just for all who live and work here. Fairness, no more, no less. That is what this legislation is about.”

Sarah Warbelow, Vice President, Legal, Human Rights Campaign culminated, “The reintroduction of the Ohio Fairness Act is a fitting way to celebrate Pride, and this twelfth reintroduction should serve to remind us that our work is far from done. Leader Antonio’s guidance in reintroducing these protections for LGBTQ+ Ohioans is a critical step at a critical time. At this inflection point for LGBTQ+ freedom, their leadership is vitally important in moving toward a future where LGTBQ+ Ohioans are free to live authentically with the full protection of the law.”

As Ohio's college graduates are departing the state more frequently than choosing to remain and build their lives here, the imperative to break down barriers and cultivate an inclusive environment has never been more critical. It is high time we empower every Ohioan, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity, to flourish and actively contribute to the collective prosperity of our incredible state. 


For more information about Ohio Business Competes, visit

About Ohio Business Competes
Ohio Business Competes is a nonpartisan coalition of businesses committed to achieving nondiscrimination policies at the state level in order to attract the best talent, to increase Business-to-Business & Business-to-Consumer relationships, and to grow Ohio’s economy.
Ohio Business Competes is a project of ACLU of Ohio, Equality Ohio, the Human Rights Campaign, and TransOhio.