Discrimination Against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People is Generally Legal in Ohio
It is legal in Ohio to be fired from your job, denied an apartment, or refused service at a movie theater, restaurant or hotel because of your sexual orientation or gender identity. In many cities and counties in Ohio and for many government employees, these practices are prohibited, but there are no statewide nondiscrimination protections that protect all Ohioans.
22 of the 50 states currently protect people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, putting Ohio at a competitive disadvantage for recruiting and hiring the best and brightest professional talent. Many employers across the country and here in Ohio have extended nondiscrimination policies to cover LGBT people, but millions of Ohioans remain unprotected. Protections are needed for everyone.
There are some protections at the federal level. The Equality Employment Opportunity Commission now considers cases of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Learn about filing a complaint here.
Ohioans Overwhelmingly Oppose Discrimination
In recent surveys, Americans — and Ohioans in particular — overwhelmingly oppose discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Nationally, 76% of people believe there should be laws protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in job opportunities, and 74% said there should be laws to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in housing.
The opinion of Ohio voters is consistent with this national trend:
79% 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 (according to a 2013 poll by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research).
Ohio Should Pass Legislation to Make Discrimination Illegal
Equality Ohio is working with a bi-partisan group of legislators to pass a bill to end discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
In the last five sessions of the Ohio General Assembly, legislation was introduced 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. On September 15, 2009, by a vote of 56 to 39, the Ohio House of Representatives passed the Equal Housing and Employment Act.
The historic vote marked the first time the Ohio General Assembly has voted on legislation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The bill unfortunately was not given testimony or a vote in the Senate and died with the end of the 2008-2009 legislative session.
A new bill will be introduced for the 2015-2016 legislature to consider.
LGBT Ohioans face discrimination on many levels. Nondiscrimination protections would prevent LGBT Ohioans from being judged on anything other than their job performance; it would allow all LGBT Ohioans the ability to obtain the housing of their choice; and, it would allow LGBT Ohioans to be served equally at restaurants, movie theaters and hotels everywhere in the state.