Equality Ohio announces bipartisan letter of support to Ohio House Speaker Batchelder and House Commerce and Labor Chairman Young to support passage of the Equality Housing and Employment Act (House Bill 335).
Rep. Antonio Urges Immediate Passage of Civil Rights Legislation
Ask Speaker & Chairman Young to pass HB 335and Ensure Equality for All Ohioans
COLUMBUS – State Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) signed on to a letter to Speaker Batcheleder and the Chair of the Commerce and Labor Committee Ron Young last week urging immediate action on House Bill 335, which was introduced last fall.
This legislation will encourage economic development and job growth by preventing firings based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This widely supported bi-partisan legislation extends Ohio Civil Rights Law to employment and housing protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity to the covered characteristics currently identified as unlawful discriminatory practices. The legislation is nearly identical to legislation passed in the Ohio House last session as House Bill 176. It never received a hearing in the Ohio Senate.
“Equality among all citizens is a fundamental belief that defines our nation. It is the corner stone from which our democratic society is built and solidified,” said Rep. Antonio. “This legislation follows the example set with the repeal of the military policy of Don’t ask Don’t, Tell, it’s time for Ohio to join with the 21 states and over 650 Fortune 500 companies across the country who know that banning LGBT discrimination is good for employees and good for business, ” said Rep. Antonio.
A copy of the letter signed by Rep. Antonio and joint co-sponsor Rep. Ross McGreggor can bee seen below.
June 5, 2012
The Honorable Ron Young
Chair of Commerce, Labor, Technology Committee
Vern Riffe Center
77 South High St.
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Dear Chair Young:
Today we write to you concerning House Bill 335, The Equal Housing and Equal Employment Act which is nearly identical to legislation passed by the House of Representatives in the 128th General Assembly with a bipartisan vote as House Bill 176. This current piece of legislation was originally introduced last September and to date has only received sponsor testimony. HB 335 encourages economic development and job growth by preventing firings based on sexual orientation or gender identity expanding those anti-discrimination practices already in place under the Ohio Civil Rights Commission laws. We believe the bill merits additional hearings because it provides a timely expansion of protections and equity to all Ohioans.
Currently, 15 states and the District of Columbia ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity while six states ban discrimination only on sexual orientation. It is hard to believe that in Ohio, people can lose their job or be denied housing, solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The real life experiences reported by family members, friends, colleagues, and those discriminated against continue to include stories of discrimination.
House Bill 335 will encourage economic development and job growth by preventing firings based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Hard working Ohioans who are also members of the LGBT community contribute every day to the success and well-being of our state — working hard, worshiping, paying taxes, sending their children to school, attending school, and being civically engaged in their communities. They represent our communities on city councils, school boards, county council boards, and they serve in the state legislature. These individuals deserve our respect and they deserve the full scope of rights that all Ohio citizens enjoy.
It is with these basic human rights in mind that we respectfully request your favorable consideration to move this bill through the legislative process.