Ohio House Bill 208 defines actual or perceived sexual orientation as well as gender identity and expression as traits commonly exploited by bullies, and calls for these characteristics to be specifically mentioned in anti-bullying policies in Ohio schools. Other protected statuses include age, color, creed, national origin, race, religion, marital status, gender, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, ancestry, political preference, political belief, socioeconomic status and familial status.
This legislation would give schools jurisdiction over cyberbullying and harassment through other electronic means. It would also require school districts to provide anti-bullying training to staff and volunteers, so they know their legal responsibilities to prevent and respond to bullying.
Equal Housing and Employment Act
The Ohio House approved the Equal Housing and Employment Act (a state-level Employment Non-Discrimination Act) in the last legislative session, the first pro-LGBT equality legislation to pass any chamber of the Ohio General Assembly. The bill saw no movement in the Ohio Senate, so it died when the current legislature took office in January. A version of this bill will be reintroduced this year.
Lobby Day 2011
The Comprehensive Safe Schools Act and Equal Housing and Employment Act won’t get anywhere if Ohioans don’t talk to our lawmakers. Equality Ohio is asking constituents to join them for the sixth Lobby Day to tell your state elected officials LGBT people and our allies live throughout Ohio, and we support this legislation. (For more on the importance of talking to lawmakers, read Equality Ohio Director Ed Mullen’s account of his first lobby day in Illinois.)
Equality Ohio Lobby Day 2011 is slated for May 18, in Columbus. Click here to register.