A bill which seeks to prohibit housing
and workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender
identity was introduced in the Ohio House and Senate on Friday.
The Equal Housing and Employment Act is
sponsored in the Senate by Senators Frank LaRose, a Republican from
Akron, and Michael Skindell, a Democrat from Lakewood. A companion
bill in the Ohio House is sponsored by Representatives Ross McGregor,
a Republican from Springfield, and Nickie Antonio, a Democrat from
Lakewood. Antonio was first elected in 2010, making her the House's
first openly lesbian member.
“This bill provides for the simple
universal right of all citizens to equal treatment under the law,
based on the premise that all are created equal including those Ohio
citizens who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,”
said Antonio in a statement. “I would like to believe that there
is no amount of discrimination that is acceptable in America.”
A similar bill cleared the Ohio House
in 2009 but stalled out in the Senate, which was under the leadership
of then-President Bill M. Harris, an Ashland Republican who publicly
questioned whether the bill's protections were needed.
In January, Senator Keith Faber, a
Republican, took over the reins of the Senate.
A recent poll conducted by Goodwin
Simon Strategic Research found that 79 percent of Ohio voters support