Ohio Fairness Act
The Ohio Fairness Act adds sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to the laws that make discrimination illegal in Ohio.
That’s right––in most parts of Ohio, it’s still legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
Specifically, it protects against employment discrimination, housing discrimination, and discrimination in accessing basic goods and services (also known as public accommodations).
20 municipalities in Ohio already have these protections, but not everybody lives in one of those areas creating a patchwork of protections where an LGBTQ person could lose their civil rights on their daily commute. The only solution is for a statewide law like HB160.
The Ohio Legislature is currently on break and scheduled to return later in fall after the November election. The bill currently sits before the Ohio House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee. When they return in the fall, any of the following could occur.
- A hearing for opposition testimony. If opposition testimony is given, then the committee will hear only from people who oppose LGBTQ equality. This is a normal part of the legislative process. (Note: we received a hearing for proponent testimony in January of this year, so we have already been given our turn to speak. Supporters of the bill filled the hearing room and at least another overflow room, and over 150 people submitted written testimony in favor of the Ohio Fairness Act.)
- The bill could be voted out of committee. If the bill is voted out of committee, then it can be considered for a floor vote by the entire Ohio House. Similar legislation was passed by the entire Ohio House in 2009.
- If it is voted out of the Ohio House, then the process repeats in the Ohio Senate. The current bills differ slightly. The senate version, SB100, would need minor changes to be aligned with the Ohio Fairness Act.