A bill that’s been introduced in the Ohio Legislature for the better part of two decades now would add sexual orientation to the state’s civil rights protections. The bill has bipartisan support and is getting hearings in the House. But House leaders say they have a lot of questions about it.
The bill known as “The Fairness Act” has typically been sponsored by Democrats but this time has support from some Republicans and business groups including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. But House Speaker Bob Cupp says Republican representatives are divided and have questions.
“I mean how is it going to work in practice? Will we have a lot more lawsuits? You’ve got religious implications involved," Cupp says.
Cupp notes last year, the US Supreme Court ruled the Civil Rights Act should also be applied to “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Attorney General Dave Yost was among 15 AGs that argued against that ruling. But backers of Ohio’s bill say it is still needed to make sure LGBTQ Ohioans are not discriminated against in housing and public accommodations.