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After Supreme Court Ruling, LGBTQ Advocates Revive Push For 'Ohio Fairness Act'

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Karen Desuyo

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of anti-discrimination protections for LGTBQ people in the workplace. Advocates in Ohio are celebrating the decision but say there's still more work to be done on the state level.

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the protections against discrimination based on sex in Title VII of 1964 Civil Rights Act should also be applied to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Alana Jochum, Equality Ohio executive director, says this ruling sends the message that the Supreme Court sees LGBTQ people.

"That our laws have protected and should be clearly interpreted to clearly protect LGBTQ folks across the country, and that this is a human rights issue, not a partisan issue," Jochum says.

Jochum and other activists are still pushing for a bill called the Ohio Fairness Act, HB369 and SB11, to extend these protections to housing and public accommodations. The proposal has been unsuccessfully introduced in every session of the legislature since 2008, but in the last few years won the support of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and other business groups.

Such protections have yet to gain the backing of Ohio's Republican leaders, however. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost was among 15 attorneys general who joined President Donald Trump's administration opposing the Supreme Court case.

"The plain language of Title VII prohibits employers from discriminating because of sex, not sexual orientation or gender identity," Yost said in a statement. "If the law is to be amended, Congress, not the courts, should be the one doing it."

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.