September 15, 2009

COLUMBUS- The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio applauded the passage of bi-partisan legislation today in the Ohio House that would protect residents from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill is sponsored by Ohio Rep. Ross McGregor (R-Springfield) and Rep. Dan Stewart (D-Columbus)

ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link said, “While today’s vote is a victory for fairness, we must implore our state senators to act quickly and decisively to protect all Ohioans from discrimination.”

"As we approach Constitution Day on Thursday, September 17, it is a stark reminder that over 200 years after the ratification of our most cherished rights, some people are still subject to losing their job or housing simply because of who they are. It is time for us to fulfill the promise of equality under the law and protect the vulnerable from unfair discrimination," added Link.

In May 2007, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland issued an order prohibiting discrimination of state workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill proposed in the Ohio General Assembly would expand this to protect employees at privately owned businesses and prevent discrimination in housing.

Communities across Ohio have added to a growing chorus of supporters calling for fair treatment of all workers. Currently, 18 communities in Ohio have laws protecting people on the basis of sexual orientation and 7 on the basis of gender identity. The most recent addition to this growing list was Bowling Green in August 2009.

Link concluded, “The right to work and live without fear of unfair discrimination is bedrock. Unfortunately, it is only a small sample of the obstacles LGBT people face in our state today. We must move forward with ending job and housing discrimination now so we may begin to address fully restoring the rights of all Ohioans.”