Ohio gay rights bill making progress in state legislature

Gay RightsA proposal in the Ohio Legislature to prohibit employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is making progress for the first time, after years of languishing in committee.

The Democratic-controlled House is poised to bring the legislation up for a vote when lawmakers return next week from a break. It was approved in committee earlier this year, the first time that’s happened since it was first introduced in the early part of the decade.

State Rep. Dan Stewart, a Columbus Democrat, said lawmakers have begun to understand the issue when a simple question is posed to them: “Do you think it’s fair to fire someone solely on the basis that they are gay or lesbian?”

Stewart first introduced the bill into the General Assembly in 2002.

The bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity to established categories such as race and gender, to be protected from discrimination in employment, housing and credit.

Ohio would be the 13th state to prohibit discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. Twenty-one states protect against sexual orientation discrimination only.

More from the Dayton Daily News.

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