Today I signed the following petition concerning EHEA, The Equal Housing and Equal Employment Act would be nearly identical to legislation passed by the House of Representatives in the 128th General Assembly with a bipartisan vote as House Bill 176. Passing legislation like EHEA would encourages economic development and job growth by preventing firing based on sexual orientation or gender identity expanding those anti-discrimination practice in place under the Ohio Civil Rights Commission laws. We as a citizen of the United States of America feel we deserve equal rights an protections under Ohio's laws.
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have passed laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 16 states and D.C. also prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. Although these laws provide important protections, according to a 2002 General Accounting Office (GAO) report, relatively few complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation have been filed in these states.
Hundreds of companies have enacted policies protecting their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. As of March 2011, 433 (87 percent) of the Fortune 500 companies had implemented non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, and 229 (46 percent) had policies that include gender identity.
It's hard to believe that in Ohio, people still can lose their job or be denied housing, solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
I believe that as an Ohioan we should equally protect hard working Ohio citizens regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. So I am signing this petition today to ask you to Support a law that would support EHEA to help end Ohio's discrimination.
Mark Szabo an Ohio Veteran's Story:
In 2009 I completed my term of enlistment in the army with out re-enlisting. I didn't want to continue to live a lie under the "Don't Ask. Don't Tell." policy. I came home enrolled at Cleveland State University which has an anti-discrimination policy providing protections based on sexual orientation. I got a job at a company in Cleveland a city that has protections based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Life was good.
My company has plans to move to Strongsville a city that does not have protections based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Having served under "Don't Ask. Don't Tell." I've personally learned how stressful and unhappy a person is when he or she can't be honest about who they are. Hiding a personal relationship that one has with a significant other at work is hard to do. My first day on the job I had two fellow co-workers ask me if I had a girlfriend or wife. Many of my co-workers have pictures of their families to include their spouses hanging in their offices.
One day I would like to hang a picture of my significant other in the office at work. In the city of Cleveland I can. In the city of Strongsville unless I ignore the risk of getting fired denied raises or promotions because of who I love I cannot.
My story is one of many here in Ohio. I urge you to support the passage of a law that will provide protections and recourse for discrimination in the workplace and in public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.