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Ohio House Leader Drops Protections for Members and Staffers

The leader of the Ohio House says he’s just following the law by omitting protections for the House’s LGBTQ members and staffers. A previous policy had included language that was meant to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) says that line was removed because he wanted the House’s anti-discrimination policies to follow classes designated in federal and state laws.

“LGBTQ is currently not one of those protected classes.   We continue to abide by and comply with federal and state law,” Householder said.

But Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) notes the Senate, Supreme Court and all top elected leaders have included protection for LGBTQ employees in their policies. 

" I think what the general consensus is if Ohio is not an inclusive state, we are closed for business,” Sykes said.

Bills have been repeatedly proposed in the legislature for the past decade to provide LGBTQ protection in Ohio’s civil rights laws but none have come close to getting approval.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.