Fairness Act needed to protect Ohioans during pandemic

State. Rep. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) today urged action on the Ohio Fairness Act, bipartisan legislation that would protect LGBTQ Ohioans from discrimination in employment, housing and accommodations. The Ohio Fairness Act had its last hearing on Feb. 4, 2020 in the Ohio House Civil Justice Committee.

The call comes amid a global pandemic that is impacting the LGBTQ community at disproportionate rates because of existing health and economic disparities that result in part due to employment discrimination. LGBTQ Americans are more likely to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid medical leave and basic necessities during the pandemic. As of May 12, 17 percent of LGBTQ people had lost their jobs because of COVID-19, compared to 13 percent of the general population.

“Failure to pass the Ohio Fairness Act allows employers and landlords to continue to discriminate against LGBTQ Ohioans,” said Rep. Skindell.  “Although most Ohioans believe that discrimination is illegal, that is not the case in Ohio.  Passage of this important legislation will make Ohio a more welcoming place to live and work.”

Ohio remains one of 27 states where individuals can be denied jobs, housing and services based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In Ohio, more than two dozen communities have enacted ordinances protecting LGBTQ+ residents, but the majority of Ohioans still have no protections from discrimination.

June 2020 also marks the 50th anniversary of LGBTQ Pride Month.