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Antonio Pushes For Anti-Discrimination Laws To Protect LGBTQ Ohioans

Andy Chow
Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) discusses the latest push for her bill that extends protections against house and employment discrimination to LGBTQ people.

A state lawmaker says if Ohio wants to become more appealing as a place to move a business or to move a family, it must create protections for LGBTQ people. There could be new momentum for a bill that has stalled several times in the last decade.

Democratic Representative Nickie Antonio says this month will mark the first time the proposal to protect LGBTQ people from employment and housing discrimination, HB160, has received more than one hearing.

Opponents have argued that there’s no need for state law because private businesses and cities already have their own policies, but Antonio calls that mere patchwork.

“We should live in a state where someone can work in one community but decide to buy a home in another community and not have to look into their policies to find out whether or not their family would be welcomed there,” said Antonio.

This is a bill that’s been floating around the Statehouse for 10 years, but it’s gone nowhere. She was asked if she thought it might be time for the issue to go before voters, Antonio replied that this is a human rights issue that should fall on policymakers.

“I do not believe that any group of people, who live in the minority should have to go to the majority population and supplicate for their rights. I think that this state and this country can do better,” Antonio said.

Antonio says though majority Republican lawmakers have not been supportive in the past, this time there's a heavyweight in her corner - the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

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