Ohio voters will select the Democratic and Republican nominees for governor in the state’s May 8 primary election. As part of its 2018 election coverage, Prizm sought out the four Democratic and two Republican candidates’ positions on issues of importance to LGBTQ Ohioans.
The three leading Democratic candidates—Richard Cordray, Dennis Kucinich and Joe Schiavoni—responded. Republican Mary Taylor’s campaign declined an interview request. Republican Mike DeWine’s campaign didn’t respond. Democrat William O’Neill didn’t return answers to our questions.
And vote! Visit myohiovote.com for information about registering, early voting options, and polling places and voting hours on Election Day.
As head of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Grove City native made sure banks treated same-sex couples equally.
Richard Cordray, 58, most recently served as director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created after the 2008 economic meltdown. He was appointed by President Obama and led the agency from 2012 to 2017, when he resigned to run for governor.
A native of Grove City who still lives in the suburb of Columbus, Cordray was Ohio’s attorney general from 2009 to 2011, and he was state treasurer from 2007 to 2009. He also has served as Franklin County treasurer and as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives.
“I’m running for governor to make things fairer for Ohio families, to finally create a system that works for every one of us,” he said when he started his campaign.
Cordray’s running mate is Betty Sutton, a former U.S. representative (2007-13) from Summit County. She also is a former member of the Barberton City and Summit County councils. Sutton lives in Copley, which is near Akron.
Here are Cordray’s answers to our questionnaire on issues of concern to LGBTQ Ohioans:
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?
Betty Sutton and I each have strong records of support for Ohio’s LGBTQ community going back 25 years. As governor, I would gladly sign legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Other states have led on these issues and I firmly believe that Ohio must provide an inclusive, welcoming and tolerant environment that is free of harassment and discrimination for everyone.
Do you support House Bill 160, the Ohio Fairness Act?
I support this legislation that would protect all LGBTQ Ohioans against discrimination in housing, in the workplace, and in access to public services. I will push for it as the right thing to do and as an important economic development initiative as we seek to promote an inclusive environment by outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
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?
We need the best and brightest working to solve the challenging problems facing our state today. Omitting protections that prohibit discrimination based on gender identify interferes with recruiting the best talent to work with me as governor. Issuing a new executive order to address this issue fully will be a priority for Betty and me.
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?
Betty and I support working with the Ohio Department of Health to allow transgender people to correct the gender marker on their birth certificates.
Do you support a hate-crimes law that includes gender identity and sexual orientation?
As Ohio Solicitor General and in pro bono private practice, I defended Ohio’s hate crimes law. This included a brief in the Wisconsin v. Mitchell case where the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Wisconsin’s hate crime law that included sexual orientation. Ohio’s should include it as well and we support it.
Do you support a statewide ban on so-called “conversion therapy” for minors?
Our young people should not be put at risk and subject to unscientific and harmful actions such as “conversion therapy.”
Would you support or oppose any legislation to dictate the public restrooms used by transgender people in Ohio?
Betty and I would not support legislation dictating restroom usage by transgender people in Ohio. People should be able to use the restroom, period.
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?
Making sure the State of Ohio has strong legal protections in place for our LGBTQ citizens is just a start. Betty and I will have LGBTQ people serving in leadership positions in our administration and the community will have a seat at the table with input on key decisions. In addition to prohibiting discrimination in state hiring and contracting, we will make sure services are provided to assist with the unique needs of LGBTQ youth and elderly as well as provide adequate health programming for issues such as HIV/AIDS.
When did you publicly announce your support for marriage equality?
I have been a long-term supporter of marriage equality as a public official. I do not recall a specific date on which I first stated that position, but it was further back than 2010.
At the CFPB, for the last seven years, it was our express policy to recognize all lawful marriages. This was not only required as a matter of policy within the bureau, but it was also enforced by the bureau in its regulatory activity regarding the financial sector.
We also recognized that the sex discrimination provisions of Title VII and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act should be read to cover discrimination based on sexual orientation. Betty, too, has long been a public supporter of marriage equality.
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.
At the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, I extended the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to prevent discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
As a private attorney, I have long fought for equal protections under the law for LGBTQ Americans, including serving as pro bono counsel working with Lambda Legal Defense on the Colorado v. Romer case (where I also consulted with the Clinton Justice Department) and in the Lawrence v. Texas case.
I also worked as Ohio solicitor general to oppose the discriminatory Cincinnati City Charter amendment that banned any protections for LGBTQ citizens in the city and worked with Al Gerhardstein on a pro bono basis to challenge that measure in the courts.
As a candidate for Congress in 1992, I strongly supported gays serving in the military, a position that was quite controversial at the time and was not fully resolved until President Obama’s tenure in office.
I have always adopted nondiscriminatory policies toward the LGBTQ community in my public offices in local and state government. In 2000, I was awarded the Michael Howard Grier Humanitarian Award by the Human Rights Campaign for my leadership on fostering tolerance and equality for Ohio’s gay community.
CORDRAY ON OTHER ISSUES
Opioid Crisis: Declare a “state of emergency” the way governments do after a natural disaster to coordinate federal, state and local resources and efforts; protect Medicaid expansion and increase funding for prevention and treatment; offer support and resources for families who must care for children of addicted parents.
Economy: Add a “small-business chief” who will work to coordinate state efforts to assist small businesses; expedite permits and other regulatory compliance for business owners; audit and offer transparency of economic development programs that use public money.
Healthcare: Protect Medicaid expansion; improve the exchanges to provide greater access to healthcare at lower costs; expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program; reverse the General Assembly’s efforts to defund Planned Parenthood women’s health programs; invest in programs that prepare people for careers in the healthcare industry.
Education: Guarantee adequate funding for universal pre-kindergarten programs through public and private sources.
Clean Energy: Reinstate Ohio’s renewable energy standards; roll back state hurdles for wind energy development; invest in solar power.
Agriculture: Consolidate agriculture and agribusiness efforts across state government; offer business and technical help to farmers; address opioid crisis in rural Ohio.
Gun Violence: Require universal background checks for gun purchases; ban the sale of high-capacity magazines and bump stocks; raise the minimum age for buying any firearm to 21; place certified school resource officers in all schools; implement “extreme risk protection orders” banning firearm access for people who are a danger to themselves and others; appoint a gun-violence prevention czar and gun violence task forces.
Seniors: Enhance programs such as Meals on Wheels and fraud protection; create a retirement savings option for those without workplace plans; lower benefit age thresholds in health systems; launch a life-expectancy improvement task force.