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Elected Official Scorecard  | LGBTQ+ Voting Awareness

Welcome  | A Letter from the Director

Dear Reader,

Welcome to our 2020 Elected Official Scorecard. In the two years since our last scorecard, a lot has changed in our state and in our world. From the White House to the Statehouse, we have had to weather some of the most extreme attacks on the most vulnerable in our communities, including President Trump’s efforts to allow healthcare providers to discriminate against LGBTQ+  patients and radical attempts in the Ohio House to deny LGBTQ+ youth access to healthcare and erase transgender Ohioans from sports. 

Amid all of these attacks, we are publicly reckoning with our racist history and the racism very presently built into our institutions, systems, and selves. LGBTQ+ people of color in Ohio are at the front line of these assaults, experiencing intersectional layers of racism, transphobia, and heterosexism that compound harms in areas of our daily lives.  For the past two years, Equality Ohio has intentionally been engaged in deep reflection and evaluation of our work through racial equity, resulting in a new strategic plan that visibly folds anti-racism work into our vision, mission, values, and structures. We are committed to our own anti-racism and reflecting that through our work to advance LGBTQ+ equality.

And we’re squarely in a once-in-a-century pandemic.  We mourn the thousands of Ohioans and the tens of thousands of Americans who have lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to a lack of comprehensive data collection, it is impossible to know just how many of those killed were members of the LGBTQ+ community, but like with other health problems, LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately more likely to contract this virus and experience more extreme symptoms. 

On top of the epidemiological crisis our state and nation face, Ohio now faces yet another political crisis as we recover from the revelation that the Speaker of the Ohio House, Larry Householder, along with several lobbyists and colleagues, perpetrated a monumental racketeering and money laundering scheme against the people of Ohio. Speaker Householder created a pay-to-play environment in the Statehouse that allowed a massive energy company to buy a bill (House BIll 6), which provided a $1.5 billion bailout for a nuclear power plant, hinderinge our state’s progress toward clean renewable energy production. 

In a matter of months, the House and Senate were able to pass this bill that benefitted a few stockholders, executives, and lawmakers, while threatening the environment and requiring FirstEnergy customers to pick up the tab. Meanwhile, the Ohio Fairness Act—which would positively impact the nearly 600,000 LGBTQ+ Ohioans and boost our economy at no cost to taxpayers—will enter its sixth straight year in committee with no votes taken in November. 

We refuse  to buy into the corruption and deceit of the Statehouse pay-to-play environment by arguing for our issues on their merits alone—not by writing checks to grease the skids for bills we support. We have the will of the majority of Ohioans and the welfare of LGBTQ+ Ohioans behind us as we interact with legislators, but to this point, our fight must continue. In Ohio and across the state, not all bills were created equal, which makes our work even more important than ever before.

In spite of all of this, we also have seen unprecedented successes—and we have much to celebrate. The Ohio Fairness Act, along with other positive state-level legislation, has more momentum than it has ever had, with strong bipartisan support and a pathway to passing before the end of this General Assembly. The federal-level Equality Act passed in the United States House of Representatives for the first time ever. 2020 also brings us the five-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, and in June of this year, the Court heldthat Title VII “sex” discrimination protections are available to LGBTQ+ folks, meaning that—at least at the federal level—we cannot be legally fired for who we are or who we love.

2020 is also the fifteen-year anniversary of Equality Ohio. 

And as we reflect on our history, we also have new work to celebrate. Since our last scorecard was issued, we have opened the Equality Ohio Legal Clinic. We know that most systems were not designed with LGBTQ+ people in mind, and they can be very difficult for LGBTQ+ individuals and families to navigate. Our Clinic seeks to connect LGBTQ+ Ohioans with legal assistance in a variety of areas, including direct representation of LGBTQ+ Ohioans at 300% of the federal poverty level, or a warm hand off to an attorney when possible if we can’t assist directly. We have full-time attorneys on staff in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati and a vision of expanding more broadly across the state in the coming years. Please call us at 855-LGBT-LAW or complete our online intake form if we can be of assistance today.

More so than ever, Equality Ohio is committed to building an Ohio where all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, are welcomed, affirmed and flourishing. We identify and transform systems and institutions for LGBTQ+ Ohioans, from city hall to Capitol Hill, and with our Legal Clinic, in state and local courts across the state.

This scorecard will give you a look at how these bills, good and bad, come to be and move through the legislature. It is intended to give you a sense of who your state representatives and senators are—the very people who have a direct impact on LGBTQ+ policy in the state, whether  positively or negatively.

Ratings for members of the Ohio House and Senate are based on LGBTQ-related statements and actions from the current General Assembly, and ratings of presidential candidates are based on the statements and actions of the candidates throughout their entire career. Our grading methods haven’t changed since the scorecard two years ago, so you can see how your elected officials have changed in their support of LGBTQ+ equality in the past two years, too.

Five years ago, we celebrated the announcement that marriage equality was the law of the land with signs, social media posts, and speeches declaring “Love Wins!”. The joy that decision brought to LGBTQ+ people across the country still gives me chills just thinking about it. But we have always known that marriage isn’t anywhere close to being enough, and we have always fought for more. We need true lived and legal equality for all members of our community, regardless of their ZIP code, their landlord, or their employer. This is our moment to make that happen. Ohioans overwhelmingly support the protections provided in the Ohio Fairness Act, and the appetite for equality is sweeping across the state. We are working hard, so that soon, we will be able to celebrate like we did in 2015, as the Ohio Fairness Act is signed into law. When that happens, our timelines and banners will be able to announce that Equality Wins, here in Ohio.

Thank you for all that you do to create an Ohio where LGBTQ+ people are welcomed, affirmed, and flourishing.  Your support is vital to our work. This November, possibly more so than ever before, your rights and the rights of LGBTQ+ Ohioans for generations to come are on the ballot. When you vote this year, it is our hope that you will use the information here to be as knowledgeable as possible about your Ohio Representatives, Senators, and statewide elected officials. Together, as LGBTQ-identifying people and allies, we must make sure that the people that represent us ensure that #Equality Wins! 

Sincerely,

Alana Jochum, Executive Director
Equality Ohio

Context  | The Ohio Fairness Act’s Journey

The first LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination bills are introduced in the Ohio House and Senate.

Ohio passes a ballot initiative for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

Equality Ohio (501c4) and Equality Ohio Education Fund (501c3) were founded after a two-day meeting of 65 diverse people from all parts of the state. The organizations were tasked with creating an Ohio that everyone can call home, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

The Ohio House of Representatives, under a Democratic majority, passes that General Assembly’s equivalent of the current Ohio Fairness Act before being blocked in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The United States Supreme Court rules in favor of Jim Obergefell, of Cincinnati, in Obergefell v. Hodges, requiring states to recognize marriage licenses of married same-sex couples from other states and making marriage equality the law of the land.

Proponent testimony is heard in the House of Representatives for The Ohio Fairness Act for the first time in the 132nd General Assembly, with a Republican supermajority.

For the first time in history, bills providing comprehensive LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections have been introduced with bipartisan support in both the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate.

Proponent testimony is heard in the Ohio Senate on the Ohio Fairness Act for the 133rd General Assembly, and hundreds of LGBTQ+Ohioans and allies pack the Statehouse.

Proponent testimony is heard in the Ohio Senate on the Ohio Fairness Act for the 133rd General Assembly, sparking more momentum for the bill than ever before.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ohio Primary Election is extended from March 17th to April 28th, and in that election, every candidate who ran an explicitly anti-LGBTQ+campaign is defeated, and every Statehouse champion of LGBTQ+issues is nominated to run in the General Election.

In Bostock, The United States Supreme Court rules that LGBTQ+people are covered under protections from sex discrimination under federal employment law.

What the next two to four years will look like is up to you, when you go to vote this fall. We hope you use this scorecard to make your decisions at the ballot box in what may prove to be the most important election ever for LGBTQ+ equality.

Context  | Ohioans Support LGBTQ+ Equality

In 2020, the Public Religion Resource Institute (PRRI) released data from a 2019 national poll, which shows that majorities of all racial, age, and religious groups favor or strongly favor nondiscrimination protections, and that they oppose extensive exemptions from those protections. 

While the poll shows that support has fluctuated slightly in recent years, it found that majorities of every demographic group support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+people, including: 

  • 71% of all Ohioans;
  • 75% of Black Ohioans, 73% of White Ohioans, and 65% of Non-Black Ohioans of Color;
  • 79% of Ohioans ages 18-29, 74% of Ohioans ages 30-49, 70% of Ohioans ages 50-64, and 61% of Ohioans over 65;
  • 61% of American Evangelicals, 75% of Catholic & Jewish Americans, and 78% of nonreligious Americans;
  • 81% of Democrats, 72% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans

This poll also gave us a new estimate of the number of LGBTQ+ people living in Ohio. According to their sample, 5% of Ohioans over the age of 18 identify as LGBTQ. That puts the estimated number of LGBTQ+Ohioans at nearly 600,000!

The PRRI poll as a whole, along with their methodology is available here.

Scores  | Presidential Candidates

Scoring Methodology for Presidential Candidates

Presidential candidates were scored by examining their full respective careers in the public eye as it relates to LGBTQ+ issues. These scores are based on recorded actions and public statements by each candidate regarding LGBTQ-specific issues, including votes on LGBTQ-related legislation while serving in a legislative body, actions taken in administrative roles, public statements via social and traditional media outlets, and statements on their campaign websites. Scoring rationale can be found below each grade.

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Vice President Joe Biden
Office of President of the United States
Grade: B

Vice President Biden has enjoyed a long career in public service, across which the political landscape and his perspective have evolved significantly on the issues facing LGBTQ+ Americans. His journey to the strong support he professes today for the LGBTQ+ community did not begin that way, with a vote in support of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and statements in 2008 defending the stance that he and then-Senator Barack Obama held in opposition to marriage equality. 

His past opposition to equality stands in stark contrast to his position in his second term as Vice President and now, as a presidential candidate. Vice President Biden’s current platform on LGBTQ+ issues is the most comprehensive of any major party presidential nominee in history. His campaign website provides a comprehensive plan to address a wide variety of issues facing the LGBTQ+ community that directly discusses violence against LGBTQ+ people of color and strongly supports the passage of the Equality Act. Vice President Biden has also received the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign.

We are unable to give the Vice President the highest of marks due to his voting record, which had real impacts on LGBTQ+ people across the country, and his slower evolution in support for LGBTQ+ equality compared to some of his peers. We applaud the Vice President’s personal journey on these issues facing LGBTQ+ Americans and his strong supportive platform now, and as with those in the Ohio Legislature, we hope to assist him as his journey continues.

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Senator Kamala Harris
Office of Vice President of the United States
Grade: A

Senator Harris has been a leader in securing equality for LGBTQ people throughout her career, as the Attorney General of California, as the junior United States Senator from California, and now, as nominee for the Vice Presidency. 

In her 2010 campaign for California Attorney General and after taking that office, Harris notably opposed Proposition 8, the 2008 statewide constitutional amendment that defined marriage as strictly “between a man and a woman.” In 2013, when the Supreme Court took the case against the State of California, Harris not only refused to defend the law, but filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that it was unconstitutional and should be struck down. Within three days of the Court’s decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, Harris ensured that marriage equality was accessible to all Californians.

Harris has experienced a journey over recent years on issues regarding transgender Americans. In 2014, as Attorney General, she defended the decision of the California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation to refuse medically necessary transition-related treatment for a transgender inmate. Although she defended California’s prisons in court, she simultaneously worked with prison administrators to change California’s policies to be supportive to transgender inmates.

As a first-term Senator, Harris’s record on LGBTQ issues has been spotless. She regularly discusses the issues facing our community in public and centered her support for LGBTQ equality at home and abroad in her campaigns for Senate, President, and now, Vice-President. In the 155th Congress, she scored a 100% on the Human Rights Campaign’s scorecard.

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President Donald Trump
Office of President of the United States
Grade: F

President Trump has taken nearly every opportunity he has been given to promote and create policy that makes life more difficult for LGBTQ+ people and create an environment in this country that is increasingly hostile toward our community. GLAAD has been tracking a long list of the President’s attacks on the community, so we’ll highlight the most egregious here.

President Trump’s anti-LGBTQ+ legacy will continue long after he leaves office—through his judicial appointees. According to Lambda Legal, about one third of all of his appointees to the federal bench have long anti-LGBTQ+ records. 

The Trump administration has also instituted several anti-LGBTQ+ policies and reversed many policies from the previous administration that provided limited protections to LGBTQ+ Americans. One of his first actions in office was to rescind Department of Education guidance that required public schools to allow transgender students to use the restroom that matched their gender identity. In a move that made headlines around the world, President Trump also banned transgender Americans from serving in the military. More recently, the Trump administration has attempted to implement a rule that would give healthcare providers a license to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people, which is presently being challenged in the courts. 

One of the only policies not disturbed or reversed is his Executive Order for federal employees, which does protect federal employees against discrimination based upon “sexual orientation” or “gender identity or expression.” Even with maintaining this protection put in place by the prior administration, President Trump has undermined it by no longer requiring these basic nondiscrimination protections to be respected by federal contractors.

President Trump is a threat to the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ people across the country. He works closely with anti-LGBTQ+ extremists, like Vice President Mike Pence, who are actively campaigning against the Equality Act and seeking to erase LGBTQ+ people from policy discussions.

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Vice President Mike Pence
Office of Vice President of the United States
Grade: F

Along with the man with whom he shares a ticket, Vice President Pence has earned himself the worst possible grade on our scorecard. His record both as Vice President and as Governor of Indiana show that he serves as a voice for vehemently anti-LGBTQ+ groups across the country, and his voting record in Congress shows that his hostility toward LGBTQ+ Americans has been a constant throughout his career.

During his time in Congress, Pence was scored in the Human Rights Campaign’s scorecard five times. In each one, he received a 0%. Among the anti-equality actions he took in Congress were co-sponsoring a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, voting against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (an earlier version of the Equality Act), and voting against the repeal of the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the U.S. military. He also refused to back HIV/AIDS prevention measures that didn’t include money for so-called “conversion therapy.”

As Governor of Indiana, Pence supported an amendment to the State Constitution banning same-sex marriage and signed a bill that provided employers, housing providers, and other goods and services providers a license to discriminate based on their religious beliefs—a move that was squarely aimed at Indiana’s LGBTQ{|+ community.

As Vice President, Mike Pence has continued to stand unequivocally as a barrier to LGBTQ+ equality. Even though his role in developing administrative policy is not always clear, Pence has continued to take any opportunity he can to attack LGBTQ Americans, as GLAAD outlines here

Ohio Elected Official Scores  | 133rd General Assembly (Ohio House & Senate)

Scores in this scorecard were primarily determined through an analysis of votes, sponsorships, and co-sponsorships on LGBTQ-related legislation. All vote counts were found on the official website of the Ohio Legislature, and interpretations of each bill as well as why each was selected to be used in this Scorecard are provided in each legislative body’s respective section. 

Scores were also influenced by public statements made by Representatives and Senators through social media platforms, traditional statements, and as reported by Ohio news outlets with the elected officials’ positions on LGBTQ+ issues. These statements were identified by reviewing each Member’s public Facebook page(s), Twitter page(s), and campaign websites (where available) as well as by conducting internet searches for news reports of potential statements on LGBTQ+ issues. Public statement ratings take into consideration various organizational endorsements, including pro-equality groups such as the Human Rights Campaign and anti-equality groups like Citizens for Community Values, Ohio Christian Alliance,  and Family First. Despite our best efforts and due to the nature of the search engines, we cannot guarantee that every public statement has been accounted for. 

Ratings of a Representative’s or Senator’s public statements were scored on a scale of -2 (highly anti-equality) to +2 (highly pro-equality). If no public statements or endorsements regarding LGBTQ+ issues were found for a specific Representative or Senator, the designation ‘NR’ is found in the Member’s ‘Public Statements’ column.

Reading Public Statement Rankings

Highly Anti-Equality Somewhat Anti-Equality Neutral Somewhat Pro-Equality Highly Pro-Equality
-2 Score -1 Score 0 Score +1 Score +2 Score

Reading for Chamber Movement

Ohio has term limits in each chamber. It is common to transition to another chamber when term limits are expired.

A single asterisk ‘*’ indicates the candidate is running this term.
A double asterisk ‘**’ indicates the candidate is running this term in the other chamber; for example, if a candidate is listed in the House with two asterisks, they are running in the Senate.

Candidate Candidate Is Running Candidate Is Running In Other Chamber
Candidate Name *Candidate Name **Candidate Name

Candidate Questions

We were unable to assign grades to non-incumbent candidates for each of the 115 seats in the General Assembly on the ballot this November. We encourage you to reach out to candidates for these offices and ask them where they stand on LGBTQ+issues. Some examples of questions you might ask include:

  • Do you think it is right that LGBTQ+people can still legally be denied goods, services, housing, and in some cases, employment, here in Ohio? 
  • Will you support the Ohio Fairness Act, which will prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+Ohioans in employment, housing, and public accommodations?
  • Do you think the Ohio Legislature should be making decisions on whether best-practice, physician-approved healthcare is available to LGBTQ+youth?
  • Will you support efforts to protect Ohio youth against the harmful practice of so-called “conversion therapy,” which attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity?

Note: The Ohio Senate and Ohio House have unique evaluation criteria because they are independent bodies that often consider distinct legislation or deal with concerns the other body does not. That means a ‘C’ grade in the House was awarded based on different criteria than a ‘C’ grade in the Senate.

Ohio Elected Official Scores  | How We Rank Bills

How It Works  | Great LGBTQ Bills Raise the Score and Trash Bills Lower It

How To Read This

  • Use the tabs below to cycle through the items
  • Bills marked with HB or HCR are from the Ohio House, and only affect House Representatives
  • Bills marked with SB are from the Ohio Senate and only affect Ohio Senators

These are bills and resolutions that are Equality Ohio priorities. Many bills are LGBTQ-centric. Our view of what bills are LGBTQ-centric is expansive and includes all LGBTQ people; therefore, items focusing on racial justice while not mentioning LGBTQ people specifically are still ranked as a priority.

HCR 31 would declare racism a public health crisis in Ohio.

HB 363 would officially designate Coming Out Day.

HB 369, the Ohio Fairness Act, which would add “sexual orientation” and gender identity or expression” to Ohio’s existing non-discrimination laws.

HB 503 would prohibit licensed health care professionals from practicing so-called conversion “therapy” on LGBTQ-identified youth. These practices are an attempt to “cure” people of being LGBTQ and are wholly disavowed by the medical community.

HB 729 would officially designate June as Pride Month.

SCR 14 will declare racism to be a public health crisis in Ohio.

SB11 is the Senate equivalent of The Ohio Fairness Act (also HB 369), which would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” to Ohio’s existing nondiscrimination protections.

SB130 would prohibit licensed health care professionals from practicing so-called conversion “therapy” on LGBTQ-identified youth. These practices are an attempt to “cure” people of being LGBTQ and are wholly disavowed by the medical community.

SB138 would officially designate June as Pride Month.

These are bills and resolutions that are Equality Ohio priorities to defeat, delay and ultimately prevent. We accomplish this by bringing opportunities to connect to your legislator to you through emails, text messages, and social media. Equality Ohio supporters like you are our collected and shared source of power to defeat trash bills.

HB 180 seeks to punish LGBTQ-friendly spaces that allow youth to perform in drag.

HB 513 is targeted at transgender youth, but would ban healthcare providers from providing affirming care to any LGBTQ young person.

HB527 would ban all transgender athletes from high school and collegiate sports.

SB 187 seeks to punish LGBTQ-friendly spaces that allow youth to perform in drag. It is essentially the same bill as HB 180, just repackaged and reintroduced when Sen. Schaffer was appointed to an empty Ohio Senate Seat without an election.

Reading Bill Sponsorship Grading

We ranked each bill depending on if we support it from the perspective of LGBTQ+ Ohioans.

Sponsor Bad Bill Co-Sponsor Bad Bill Co-Sponsor Good BIll Primary Sponsor Good BIll
S CS CS S

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Scores  | The Ohio House of Representatives

The 133rd General Assembly has been one of great progress on LGBTQ+ legislation. Over the past two years, we have seen unprecedented support for the Ohio Fairness Act, including the bill being introduced in both the Ohio House and Senate with bipartisan support as well as co-sponsorship by every Democrat in the General Assembly for the first time ever.

Members were evaluated with regard to seven LGBTQ-specific bills and one resolution about racial equity, along with public statements that they have made via social media, other online media, and various organizational endorsements. See Scoring Methodology above.

In the Ohio House, we have seen a huge increase in bipartisanship and collaboration in promoting legislation to support and protect LGBTQ+ Ohioans. These bills appear in green.

Despite the great progress we have made on the Ohio Fairness Act and other issues in the Ohio House, none of the four pro-equality bills in the House have yet made it to a vote on the House floor, so the only way a legislator could show their support of them would have been to put their name on them as a “cosponsor” when they were introduced. The same is true for HCR 31, which is a resolution.

We also continue to closely monitor three highly anti-LGBTQ+ bills at the Statehouse, two of which are among the most extreme legislative attacks on LGBTQ+ people we have seen in Ohio in a long time. These bills appear in red.

Thankfully, the Ohio House has shown little appetite for these bills and has not moved any of them forward in the legislative process thus far. That said, the mere existence of these bills and the rhetoric that their supporters use to rationalize them does real damage to LGBTQ+ people across the state, especially those who have experienced discrimination firsthand and youth who see the people who are supposed to be protecting them using their platform to attack them.

◆ After talking with us, Rep. Smith better understood the purpose of the bill and released a statement rejecting the bill and apologizing for putting his name on it.

Ohio’s 133rd Legislature | The Ohio Senate Scorecard

For the second General Assembly in a row, the Ohio Senate and its members are largely recognized by their lack of action on LGBTQ+ issues, both positively or negatively. This inaction is balanced, at least in part, by the fact that those willing to take a stand for LGBTQ+ Ohioans are doing so in a bipartisan fashion. The Senate Democratic Caucus, like their counterparts in the House, unanimously support the Ohio Fairness Act and are cultivating new leaders in their ranks to promote equality. The Senate Republicans also have members who are working—both publicly and privately—to advance our cause within their supermajority caucus. 

Like in the House, none of the bills we evaluated in this General Assembly have, as of yet, made it to the Senate floor for a vote, so the scores for many senators are highly contingent on cosponsorship of bills, public statements, and their public engagement with LGBTQ issues.

Only one anti-LGBTQ+ bill was introduced in the Senate this General Assembly, and it is virtually the same as HB 180 in the House. When Sen. Schaffer moved to the Senate, he reintroduced this bill to punish LGBTQ-friendly spaces that allowed for youth to perform in drag as SB 187.

Ohio’s 133rd Legislature | Allies

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Senator Nickie Antonio

As the first and only openly LGBTQ+ member of the Ohio Senate, Senator Antonio has been a tireless advocate for LGBTQ+ Ohioans throughout her career. She has been a primary sponsor of the Ohio Fairness Act for several General Assemblies in a row and is always an outspoken voice of reason when adversaries propose legislation that is harmful for Ohio’s LGBTQ+ community.

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Representative Michael Skindell

Representative Skindell is a veteran ally for LGBTQ+ equality in the Statehouse. He has consistently been a primary sponsor of the Ohio Fairness Act and has worked tirelessly with Rep. Brett Hillyer to advocate for LGBTQ+ Ohioans in the House during this General Assembly. His unwavering support for LGBTQ Ohioans over his nearly 20 years in the Ohio Legislature earns him a permanent spot on our list of allies.

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Representative Brett Hillyer

Representative Hillyer is a first-term Republican lawmaker from a rural part of Eastern Ohio who embodies political courage and principled conservatism. Where many lawmakers have taken a backseat and remained silent on the issues facing their LGBTQ+ constituents for fear of perceived political consequences, Rep. Hillyer signed up to be a primary sponsor of the Ohio Fairness Act, without hesitation. 

What’s more, he has worked ceaselessly to advocate for the bill within the House Republican Caucus which, until his vocal support, has been fairly cold to supporting nondiscrimination protections. Representative Hillyer stands as an example for current and future Republican lawmakers that supporting LGBTQ+ people at the Statehouse is not only the right thing to do, but that it is a non-partisan, economically necessary step to take for Ohio to thrive. 

Ohio’s 133rd Legislature | Adversaries

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Representative Candice Keller

Candice Keller has become the face of the extreme anti-LGBTQ+ movement in Ohio and across the country. Not only did Representative Keller co-sponsor every piece of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in this General Assembly, she has also regularly made statements via social media attacking LGBTQ+ people. LGBTQ+ folks across the state and country were shocked in August of last year when her first reaction to the horrific shooting in Dayton was to blame it on “transgender, homosexual marriage, and drag queen advocates” among other things. These comments are abhorrent, and were covered by news outlets from around the world. Though she remained in office, we applaud Ohio Republican Party Chair, Jane Timken, for calling on Keller to resign after she made this post. We were also encouraged to see Keller’s constituents reject her rhetoric in the 2020 primary race to represent Ohio Senate District 4.

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Representatives Ron Hood & Bill Dean

Representative Ron Hood and his father in law, Representative Bill Dean, are notorious for their promotion of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and have been for the entirety of their careers. In this General Assembly, they are the lead sponsors on the radical HB 513, which would ban all affirming physical and mental health care for LGBTQ+ youth. It would go so far as to criminalize those providing affirmative, supportive care to LGBTQ+ youth—including therapists, doctors, school nurses and counselors, social workers and more and in violation of supportive policies that have been in place for years. The rhetoric that they used when discussing the bill and the language in the bill itself was filled with mistruths and propaganda spoon-fed to them by anti-LGBTQ+ organizations like Citizens for Community Values. This is one of the most extreme bills we have seen in Ohio and is part of a coordinated national effort to attack the most vulnerable among us: LGBTQ+ youth.

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Representatives Jena Powell and Reggie Stoltzfus

Representatives Jena Powell and Reggie Stoltzfus are leading the crusade against transgender athletes in high school and collegiate athletics through HB 527, which they misleadingly call the “Save Women’s Sports Act.” Like Representatives Hood and Dean above, these lawmakers have voluntarily joined a coordinated, nationwide effort to attack transgender people who are simply trying to live their lives and participate in athletics—just like their cisgender peers. Through this bill, they seek to overturn local policies adopted by schools that have been working to support transgender athletes for years, including policies adopted at the local level advanced by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Hiding this effort behind the facade of feminism support of women’s equality is overtly disingenuous and promotes incorrect ideologies around transgender people. The truth is transgender men are men, and transgender women are women. Full stop.