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Ohio Fairness Act introduced for the 11th time

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(The Center Square) – A 20-year effort by Ohio Democrats to ban discrimination of sexual orientation and gender identity will continue this year in the General Assembly.

On Wednesday, Senate Democratic Leader Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, and Rep. Michael Skindell, D-Lakewood, announced they introduced the Ohio Fairness Act that would prohibit LGBTQ+ discrimination in employment, housing or public accommodations in the state.

“With statehouses across the country introducing legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community at an unprecedented rate, including here in Ohio, we believe a shift toward hope, opportunity and fairness is necessary,” Antonio said. “The Ohio Fairness Act reflects our unwavering commitment to the ideal that all individuals are created equal and endowed with the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Discrimination has no place in Ohio. This legislation is a clear statement that we stand on the side of justice, inclusivity and equal opportunity for all.”

It’s the 11th time the legislation has been introduced.

Employment discrimination is banned by federal law, but it does not cover other forms of discrimination at private businesses, doctors’ officers or other service businesses. The proposed state law would cover those areas, with certain exceptions for religious organizations.

“Inclusive policies will better attract workers and business investments in Ohio,” Skindell said. “We have a diverse LGBTQ+ community in Ohio and it is clear our laws must be updated to better reflect our ever-changing state, which can be done by the passage of the Ohio Fairness Act.”

Ohio is one of 27 states that does not have a law protecting people from employment, housing or public accommodation discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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