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Ohio Joins Lawsuit Over Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination Protections

LGTBQ flag Delaware - Ingles.jpg
Jo Ingles
Statehouse News Bureau
An LGBTQ pride flag flies over Sandusky Street in downtown Delaware in June 2020. Delaware County is one of the state's most reliably Republican counties, and also the home of Ohio Wesleyan University.

Opponents of the lawsuit say it sends a mixed message about Ohio.

Ohio has joined 19 other Republican-dominated states in a lawsuit over the Biden administration’s extension of protections to halt discrimination against LGTBQ people.

The lawsuit seeks to stop anti-discrimination protections from including LGBTQ people, which could affect laws on transgender athletes in schools and gender and bathrooms.

Yost said in a statement that the Biden administration is "inventing sweeping laws outside the process mandated by our Constitution".

His statement goes on to add: “I will always defend the rights of our citizens to be a part of the legislative process and work to stop the abuses of a recalcitrant administrative state determined to bypass them.”

But Alana Jochum with Equality Ohio said the suit suggests a mixed message from the state, since one of Gov. Mike DeWine’s first actions was an executive order protecting LGBTQ state workers.

“Ohio should be sending one clear signal that we are welcoming and embracing of all. And yes, the attorney general is pushing Ohio down a wrong path," Jochum said. "Frankly, the complaint is insulting.”

Yost had joined a suit arguing that civil rights laws don't protect LGBTQ workers in 2019. The US Supreme Court ruled last year in that case that workers couldn’t be fired because of their gender identity or sexuality.

Republicans in the Statehouse and nationally have pushed for laws banning transgender girls in school sports. There's also a "medical conscience clause" in the Republican-crafted state budget that activists have said could lead to discriminatory treatment of LGBTQ people.

But a bipartisan anti-LGBTQ discrimination bill has support from many Ohio business groups.

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