Ohio businesses worry gay-rights bill will prompt lawsuits against employers

The Ohio House has passed a bill barring employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity which was approved 56-39 on Tuesday, with all Democrats in attendance voting yes, along with five Republicans.

"This is not special rights. These are rights all Ohioans are afforded," said Rep. Dan Stewart, D-Columbus.

But this is not what Ohio business leaders think.
"We recognize the reality that this is going to mean, quite potentially, additional lawsuits against employers, many of which will not have committed discrimination and will not have been found as such but will still have to pay exorbitant legal bills," says Ty Pine, legislative director for NFIB in Ohio.

Lynne Bowman, executive director of Equality Ohio, said studies in other states that have passed similar anti-discrimination laws show no significant increase in lawsuits.

McGregor, a business owner, considers that creating an environment open to all is going to help the economy in Ohio.
"Love thy neighbor. Simple, end of story," he said. "People want nothing more than to have a good job, a place to live and not feel threatened."

Some Republicans also manifested their concerns that the bill does not contain a strong-enough exemption for churches, while others said they were not comfortable elevating sexual orientation to the same level of legal protection as race, gender and religion.


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