“For too long, anti-equality politicians have held our state back, failing the majority of Ohioans who support fairness, equality and protections for the LGBTQ community. It is critical that we invest in fair-minded, pro-equality candidates up and down the ticket, who are committed to moving equality forward”,
said HRC Ohio State Director, Shawn Copeland.
“With a pro-equality majority, we can finally pass state level non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community, ensure transgender people are no longer barred from changing the gender marker on their birth certificates, and expand hate crimes protections to include LGBTQ Ohioans. For the past year, HRC has been on the ground working hard to turn out Equality Voters and elect a pro-equality majority in the state legislature that will fight to defend the rights and dignity of all Ohioans.”
In the Ohio State Senate, HRC has endorsed Louise Valentine in the open Senate District 19 race. In the Ohio State Assembly, HRC has endorsed Mary Lightbody Sherwood for House District 19; Beth Liston for House District 21; Allison Russo for House District 24; Casey Weinstein for House District 37; Jeremy Blake for House District 71; and Taylor Sappington for House District 94. HRC also endorsed Nickie Antonio in Senate District 23 prior to her primary victory in May.
Ohio is one of 30 states in the country that lack explicit state-level protections for all LGBTQ people. With a pro-equality majority, the Ohio State Legislature could finally pass the Ohio Fairness Act. First introduced by State Rep. Nickie Antonio in 2009, this crucial legislation that would bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas of employment, housing and public accommodations in Ohio. The Fairness Act had its first ever committee hearing on January 31, but has since stalled in the Ohio House. During the most recent legislative session, there have been attempts to roll back progress including through the introduction of legislation that would force teachers to out transgender students.
HRC has also endorsed pro-equality candidates up and down the ballot, including Richard Cordray for Governor, Steve Dettlebach for Attorney General, Kathleen Clyde for Secretary of State, Rob Richardson for State Treasurer, Zack Space for State Auditor, U.S Senator Sherrod Brown, U.S. Reps. Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) and Tim Ryan (OH-12), and Aftab Pureval (OH-01), Danny O’Connor (OH-12), Betsy Rader (OH-14), and Rick Neal (OH-15) for Congress.
In Ohio, HRC has identified more than 1.5 million ‘Equality Voters’ – voters who support LGBTQ-inclusive policies, including marriage equality, equitable family law, and laws that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
HRC has prioritized investments and organizing in Ohio in the 2018 cycle, and has staff and resources on the ground in the state. Last year, HRC announced a coast-to-coast campaign called HRC Rising, which represents the largest grassroots expansion in the organization’s 38-year history.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization, working to achieve equality for LGBTQ people.