Today is an exciting day. This morning, a bipartisan, bicameral group of Ohio legislators announced that they are reintroducing the Ohio Fairness Act at the Ohio Statehouse, joined by faith leaders, community advocates, and over 1,000 businesses across the state demanding we protect LGBTQ+ Ohioans from discrimination.
The bill is being led by Senators Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Michael Rulli (R-Salem) Representatives Brett Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) and Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood). Over the past few weeks, Equality Ohio has worked closely with these sponsors to reintroduce this important piece of legislation that will once and for all make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
Senator Antonio, the first openly LGBTQ+ member of the Ohio Legislature, and Representative Skindell have been leading efforts to pass the Ohio Fairness Act for the entirety of their respective careers in the Ohio Legislature. They are joined by every member of both the House and Senate Democratic caucuses in supporting the Ohio Fairness Act for the second General Assembly in a row.
Our Republican champions, Senator Rulli and Representative Hillyer, continue to lead the way in showing Ohio that LGBTQ+ equality is not a partisan issue. They are both in their second General Assembly and supported the Ohio Fairness Act in the 133rd General Assembly, with Senator Rulli as a co-sponsor and Representative Hillyer as a sponsor. This year, the bipartisan coalition continues to grow with two new Republican co-sponsors, Senators Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) and Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville).
With over 1,000 members of Ohio Business Competes ranging from sports teams like the Cincinnati Reds to local breweries like Great Lakes Brewing Company, more than 200 faith organizations in the Ohio Faith Coalition for Nondiscrimination, supermajority support among the people of Ohio, and our broadest bipartisan coalition to date, the momentum for the Ohio Fairness Act is stronger than ever.
This General Assembly is our opportunity to finally pass these basic protections in Ohio, so we can continue toward our vision of an Ohio where all people are welcome, affirmed and flourishing.