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Ohio House Holds Another Hearing On LGBTQ Anti-Discrimination Bill

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Karen Desuyo

A bill to expand Ohio’s civil rights protections to LGBTQ residents has received yet another hearing – this time in an Ohio House committee.

The "Ohio Fairness Act," which has been repeatedly but unsuccessfully introduced into the Ohio legislature for more than a decade, would amend state laws to ban discrimination in employment, housing and public accomodations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

While a Senate version of the bill, introduced by longtime proponent state Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood), hasn't moved since May 2019, the House's Civil Justice Committee has held several hearings this year on HB369, introduced by state Reps. Brett Hudson Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) and Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood).

The Ohio House version has garnered bipartisan support and is backed by a large group of businesses and corporations. While a mass of supporters testified at a hearing in February, last Thursday's hearing featured opponents of the bill, including conservative groups – who have long opposed anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ residents.

Johnathan Newman of the Koinos Christian Fellowship in Dayton claims it would lead to children being taught values that are against their religion.

“Parents have the right to expect that taxpayer dollars will fund education that does not reprogram their religiously held morality," Newman said.

In June, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to job discrimination against LGBTQ employees. Many cities in Ohio have adopted local anti-discrimination policies.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.