The Ohio Board of Education is debating
a proposal to add sexual orientation to the list of protected
classes, a move which would ban discrimination against gay and
Stephanie Dodd, a board member, first
introduced the proposal 14 months ago.
“No person who possesses the
knowledge, skill and passion for teaching and who abides by the code
of professional conduct should ever be treated differently simply
because of his or her age, color, ancestry, national origin, race,
gender, religion, disability or veteran status,” Scott DiMauro,
vice president of the Ohio Education Association, told
the board on Tuesday. “The same must hold true for sexual
Jimmie Beall, a school counselor, told
the board that she was fired from a previous job “because there
were questions about my sexual orientation.”
“That's scary,” she said.
Despite Dodd's assurances that her
proposal protects the rights of religious institutions, several board
members said it would interfere with the First Amendment.
“There are those who hold certain
tenets of faith that would be contrary to a nondiscrimination
provision,” said C. Todd Jones, a board member.
Also opposed is the board's legal
counsel, who pointed out that Ohio law excludes such protections.