Ohio Governor Signs Anti-Discrimination Executive Order

by HRC Staff

COLUMBUS, OHIO - Today, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland signed an executive order that will prohibit discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender state employees. The order is effective immediately.

"This is a good day for all fair-minded Ohio residents. Ohio has waited a long time for this day," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "We applaud Governor Strickland's commitment to equality, and we congratulate Equality Ohio for their work in helping move Ohio forward. Of course, the executive order reminds us that Ohio remains one of 33 states without a law protecting employees in the private sector from discrimination based on sexual orientation and one of 42 states without a law protecting private-sector employees from discrimination based on gender identity. This inequality further highlights the critical need for federal legislation to ensure all Americans can go to work and earn a living free of the fear of discrimination."

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bipartisan piece of federal legislation, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 24, 2007. This legislation would address discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee based on the person's sexual orientation or gender identity. The legislation is supported by a diverse group of American corporations, including Columbus-based Nationwide Insurance.

During the introduction of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Nationwide's vice president for compensation, benefits and human resources policy, Steve Keyes, spoke on behalf of the company in support of the bill, saying it "would simply and fairly extend the fundamental right to be judged on one's own merits, without placing excessive burdens on employers. The act merely embodies the principle of non-discrimination that already enjoys the wide support of the American people."

As of March 15, 2007, nearly 90 percent (433) of the Fortune 500 corporations included "sexual orientation" in their non-discrimination policies and a quarter (124) of Fortune 500 corporations also included "gender identity" in those same policies.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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