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Lawmaker Renews Call For LGBT Anti-Discrimination Laws In Wake Of Orlando Attack

Karen Kasler
Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) has been pushing for stronger anti-discrimination laws for years

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 not only declared it as an act of terror but an act of hate.

Democratic Representative 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 around the state 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 different classes already protected by the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

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

“That now 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.”

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

“Because we don’t have it right now," said Antonio. "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 also called on an end to the heated rhetoric against different groups and instead bring 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.

Hear more from Antonio about the current state of protections for the LGBT community.


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