LGBTQ Rights

Joe is a proud supporter of equal rights for LGBTQ Ohioans. There are STILL places in Ohio where people can be fired, denied a mortgage, or even refused service in a restaurant for their sexual orientation. That is unacceptable, and it needs to change.

Joe is a proud supporter of equal rights for LGBTQ Ohioans. Marriage equality is finally law of the land, but there are STILL places in Ohio where people can be fired, denied a mortgage, or even refused service in a restaurant for their sexual orientation.

That is unacceptable, and it needs to change.

As senator, Joe has cosponsored several bills to prevent discrimination against Ohio residents based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. This includes SB 100 and SB 174, both of which are currently awaiting hearings in the Ohio Statehouse.

As governor, Joe will push for the passage of similar bills to prevent discrimination and build a culture of support for all Ohioans, no matter who they are or whom they love.

Team Joe would like to thank Prizm News for their recent in-depth interview series regarding each candidate’s stance on LGBTQ rights.

Read Joe’s full interview here. Here are some of his answers:

If a bill reached your desk that would add sexual orientation and gender identity/expression to the laws that make discrimination illegal in Ohio, would you sign it?

“Absolutely. I cosponsored this bill in the Ohio Statehouse.”

Do you support House Bill 160, the Ohio Fairness Act?

“Yes! In my position as state senator, I submitted testimony (see below) to the House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee in support of HB 160, the ‘Fairness Act.’

“It’s 2018. LGBTQ Ohioans are free to marry the person they love. How can Ohio justify a legal system that still allows someone to deny them a job or home?”

Joe Schiavoni’s Testimony to the Ohio House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee Re: House Bill 160

January 30, 2018 Good Morning Chairman Blessing, Vice Chair Reineke, Ranking Member Clyde and members of the House Government Oversight Committee. Thank you for allowing me to submit proponent testimony for House Bill 160.

As you know, this bill would create the Ohio Fairness Act, providing protections to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. I was compelled to show support for this legislation to ensure all Ohioans are treated equally and are provided the same opportunity to succeed.

The fact that it is still legal in our state to discriminate against anyone shows just how much work we still have ahead of us. In 2018, when LGBTQ Americans are free to marry the person they love and build a life with that person, how can we justify a legal system that still allows someone to deny those same Ohioans a job or a home?

We cannot claim to be providing all Ohioans a fair shot at success when state-sanctioned discrimination still exists in our own state. We cannot hope to attract the most talented and qualified individuals to Ohio when such discrimination is still permissible. And we cannot hope that our own children will stay close to home and help move Ohio forward when we will not move forward ourselves.

I ask that you help Ohio take this simple but critical step forward by passing this bill out of committee and moving it to the floor for a full vote. Too many Ohioans have waited far too long for this day. We shouldn’t make them wait another minute. Thank you for your time and your consideration.

In 2011, Gov. John Kasich eliminated gender identity from an executive order barring discrimination in state government employment. Will you add gender identity back in? 

“Yes, I will.”

Ohio is one of three states that do not let transgender people correct the gender marker on their birth certificates. Will you work with the Ohio Department of Health to resolve this? 


Do you support a hate-crimes law that includes gender identity and sexual orientation? 

“Absolutely. We have seen proof in recent years that these incidents are still occurring. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 2017 saw the most murders of transgender individuals in a decade. Now more than ever, we need to include gender identity and sexual orientation in hate crimes law. Everyone deserves to feel welcome in our state.”

Do you support a statewide ban on so-called “conversion therapy” for minors? 

“Yes. This past year, I cosponsored Sen. Charleta Tavares’ SB 126, which would ban conversion therapy in Ohio. I will push for passage of that bill as governor.”

Would you support or oppose any legislation to dictate the public restrooms used by transgender people in Ohio? 

“People should be able to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender they identify with. This shouldn’t be an issue.”

Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton all ranked among the top cities on the Human Rights Campaign’s most recent Municipal Equality Index survey of local policies toward LGBTQ people. In the HRC’s State Equality Index, Ohio ranked among the lowest states. How do we make all of Ohio as welcoming and inclusive as its big cities? 

“Every human being deserves to feel welcome and respected in the community where they live. We need to make sure our laws reflect that mentality.

“Several larger Ohio cities have passed local laws banning the housing, employment and other forms of discrimination that are currently legal statewide. But many smaller communities still allow LGBTQ Ohioans to be treated unfairly.

“Until we make it clear that discrimination is unacceptable in the eyes of the law, we may have trouble making positive change on a societal level.”.

Tell us about some of the actions you have taken as a public official or elected office-holder to support and advance equality for LGBTQ people. 

“For me, it’s all about bringing people to the table and making sure everyone has a say in policies that impact their lives.

“I have built relationships with LGBTQ Ohioans throughout my years in the Statehouse, and I will never write a bill or push an agenda impacting the LGBTQ community without their input. That’s how leaders should approach every policy decision.

“Real people know each issue best. You have to meet with people and ask what they need in order to make meaningful change. I will always operate that way as governor.”