Gay Ohio Lawmaker Urges for Extended LGBTQ Anti-Discrimination Protection

Jun 16, 2016

Nickie Antonio wants to add sexual orientation to existing anti-discrimination laws in Ohio
Credit KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

While people are still reeling in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Orlando, leaders in Ohio say it’s time to add more protections for the LGBT community. 

When responding to the brutal attack at a gay nightclub in Florida that left 49 people dead and dozens of others wounded, President Barack Obama declared an act of terror and of hate.

Democratic Rep. Nickie Antonio of Lakewood is urging the Legislature to stand against hate by passing her anti-discrimination bill. The measure, Antonio says, would send a message that Ohio will not stand for bias against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The bill adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the classes already protected by the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

Antonio says that makes the state an ally in protecting the LGBT community.

“The state of Ohio, should that bill pass, says we will not tolerate crimes of hate against this group of people that is powerful in itself,” she said.

Antonio, an openly gay lawmaker, says she and other LGBT people are still going “piece-by-piece” towards full citizenship.

“We don’t have it right now. I am not a full citizen in the United States or in the state of Ohio because I don’t have full protections, my family doesn’t have full protection, every other member of the LGBT community does not have full protection under the law in this moment,” Antonio said.

Antonio also called for an end to the heated rhetoric against different groups and bringing more civility to the political arena.

The anti-bias bill has been introduced in the House several times. The furthest it ever got was passing the House in 2009, but it failed to go anywhere in the Senate.

And there's no word on how Republican leadership feels about the bill. Gov. John Kasich and House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger did not respond to requests for comment on the issue.