With over half of the Ohio Senate up for reelection this season, LGBTQ Ohioans and their allies have the opportunity to dramatically shift the dialogue in Columbus from questions of if? and how? to answers of when and now.
You may notice that 20 out of 32 Senators that we graded earned Cs. There are three main reasons for why this happened:
Equality Ohio is proud that zero anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in the Ohio Senate, so there were no opportunities to lower anyone’s grade for supporting a bad bill.
Many Senators did not have active campaign websites or social media pages because they are not running for office this year. This made retrieving public statements difficult, if not impossible for many many legislators.
It is an honest and accurate representation of the Senate as a whole. The majority of Senators have expressed no positive or negative attitudes toward LGBTQ issues.
The bills that we considered in the Senate fell into two categories: great bills (in green) and good bills (in purple). Great bills are those that are our legislative priorities in the Senate, including nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Ohioans (SB100), a ban on so-called conversion ‘therapy’ performed on minors (SB126), and a formal removal of the ban on same-sex marriage in Ohio law, which was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges. Good bills will benefit LGBTQ Ohioans if passed but support for these bills was less influential on a Senator’s score than on great bills.
Senate Bill 100, the Senate companion to the Ohio Fairness Act (HB160) is our main legislative priority in the Senate, so if a Senator was not listed as a co-sponsor for it, they could not receive an A. The primary sponsors of SB 100, Senators Charleta Tavares (District 15) and Michael Skindell (District 23) both received a grade of A+ and were celebrated in the Allies section as champions of LGBTQ equality in Ohio.
Like in the House of Representatives, public statements in support of LGBTQ Ohioans were major factors in separating helpful Representatives from out and open allies to the LGBTQ community.
While not all of the Senators we graded in this scorecard will be on the ballot this election season, we urge you to use the information that we have collected in your decision making process the next time your Senate District chooses its Senator.