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Republican governor protects LGBTI govt employees on first day in office

Republican governor protects LGBTI govt employees on first day in office

Mike DeWine (Photo: Facebook)

Newly sworn-in Republican Governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, signed an executive order barring anti-LGBT discrimination in state employment on Tuesday (14 January).

Ohio is one of 31 states that lacks a statewide law barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

DeWine’s order also covers race, color, religion, gender, national origin, military status, disability, age, and genetic information.

Equality Ohio Executive Director Alana Jochum said the state was still ‘playing catch-up when it comes to welcoming LGBTQ people’.

‘Governor DeWine made a strong statement on his first day that he will be a Governor for all Ohioans’ he said.

‘The right thing’

LGBTI rights advocates Human Rights Campaign said DeWine ‘did the right thing’.

‘We hope his administration will push for the fair treatment of all LGBTQ Ohioans over the next four years’ the group said in a statement.

Importantly, DeWine’s executive order extends protections to trans and non-binary residents.

James Knapp of TransOhio urged the Ohio Legislature to now protect transgender employees in the private sector through the Ohio Fairness Act.

Last week, state governors in Michigan and Wisconsin moved to protect LGBTI state employees.

Both signed executive orders prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

But, the new Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, excluded LGBTI people from his executive order.

Equality Act

Earlier this month, newly-sworn in members of the House of Representatives promised to pass the US’s Equality Act.

The Equality Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was first introduced to the House in 2015.

If passed, it would outlaw discrimination against LGBTI citizens in work and services across the country.