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Business Coalition Calls For LGBTQ Anti-Discrimination Laws

Columbus skyline at dusk

Business groups are calling on lawmakers to pass a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in discrimination laws. The coalition of companies sees added benefits going beyond civil rights.

According to Ohio law, it’s technically legal for businesses to fire someone for being gay or transgender.

The coalition Ohio Business Competes wants additional anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ people, including a bill now in the House, HB 160, introduced by Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood). 

Holly Gross with the Columbus Chamber of Commerce told Columbus Metropolitan Club this law is especially important to attracting more millennials to the state.

“Now, more than ever before, this generation, they care about the policies that employers have in place they are making decisions as to where they work based on those policies as well,” Gross said.

The Center for Community Values opposes the bill fearing that it could infringe on personal religious beliefs. The bill hasn’t had a hearing since January.

Similar bills introduced over the last decade have failed to gain traction in the Republican-dominated legislature, although this one has the support of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.