Ohio Democrats Call on Kasich to Back Statewide Non-Discrimination Legislation

COLUMBUS – Ohio Democrats today called on Gov. John Kasich to move quickly on soon-to-be-introduced state legislation that would prohibit discrimination in employment and housing for LGBT Ohioans.

“The time is now for Governor Kasich to demonstrate his support for LGBT Ohioans and ensure they can live free of discrimination in the workplace and in their homes,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “When an Ohioan can marry whomever he or she loves on Sunday and then be fired on Monday, that’s not real freedom. When a landlord can discriminate against tenants because they are trans, that’s not equality. Words are nice, but actions speak louder than words, and we are calling on Kasich to take action and make this issue a top legislative priority for this fall’s session.”

During last week’s Republican presidential debate, Kasich endorsed “traditional marriage,” but added that he had recently attended a same-sex wedding and would still love his daughters if they were gay.

Kasich: “Look, I’m an old-fashioned person here and I happen to believe in traditional marriage. But I’ve also said that the court has ruled … and I said we’ll accept it. And guess what? I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay. Because somebody doesn’t think the way I do doesn’t mean that I can’t care about them or I can’t love them. So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and I would accept them. Because you know what? That’s what we’re taught when we have strong faith…. [W]e need to give everybody a chance, treat everybody with respect,  and let them share in this great in this great American dream that we have.”

“It was great to hear that Governor Kasich wants to ‘give everybody a chance’ to achieve the American dream, which is why banning discrimination from employment or housing is so critical,” said Pepper.

“Every Ohioan should have the right to be gainfully employed, to seek safe and affordable housing, and to provide for their family without the fear of discrimination and hostility,” said state Rep. Nickie Antonio. “For the third consecutive General Assembly, I will be introducing legislation to extend non-discrimination protections to LGBT Ohioans. I sincerely hope that the Republican majority in the legislature and the governor will shake off their antiquated, hurtful views and finally embrace true equality for all Ohioans. After all, we are all God’s children and all citizens.”

“No Ohioan should be denied a place to live or be fired from their job simply because they are gay, lesbian or transgender,” said state Sen. Michael J. Skindell. “We are talking about basic protections that other Ohioans already have. This legislation will ensure that our friends, neighbors, children, brothers and sisters are treated with fairness and equality.”

This issue is gaining traction across Ohio. In 2009, the state House passed non-discrimination legislation, but the state Senate failed to act. At least 13 municipalities (Athens, Bexley, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Columbus, Coshocton, Dayton, Newark, Oxford, Toledo and Yellow Springs) and four counties (Franklin, Lucas, Montgomery and Summit) have ordinances preventing discrimination against LGBT Ohioans. According to Equality Ohio, 79 percent 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.

At the federal level, Speaker John Boehner has blocked non-discrimination legislation from passage. The U.S. Senate passed a non-discrimination bill in 2013 with bipartisan support, but the House never took up the bill.