A chorus of anger, disapproval, and outright embarrassment broke out across the Buckeye State with the news that Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost voluntarily signed the state onto an amicus brief sent to the Supreme Court arguing that discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community is not outlawed by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and is thus permissible.
Ohio State Senator Nickie J. Antonio has added her voice to the chorus, condemning his decision, urging him to denounce all forms of discrimination, and inviting him to discuss the passage of SB11, the Ohio Fairness Act.
“I am disappointed that you have chosen to use our taxpayer resources to advocate that the State of Ohio and our nation may discriminate against employees for living their authentic lives and working to provide for their families…To stand on the side of discrimination and the denial of due process for citizens is not a stance our State’s Attorney General should reinforce.” –State Senator Nickie J. Antonio, 8/28/19
The entirety of Senator Antonio’s letter can be found here.
Despite the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission previously affirming that the LGBTQ+ community is protected in the workplace and despite the fact that there was nothing compelling the state of Ohio to sign onto the brief, Yost’s action joins Ohio with 14 other states that have chosen to go out of their way to argue against workplace protections. This move also stands in conflict with Governor DeWine’s executive order earlier this year barring state government from discriminating against its own employees on the basis of their gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.
On October 9, the Supreme Court will hear arguments for a landmark trio of cases that will have far reaching effects in the world of employment protections. One of those cases originated right next door in Michigan when Aimee Stephens successfully sued a chain of funeral homes. Stephens was fired for violating her employer’s dress code after seeking to wear women’s clothes. The owner’s defense was based in “religious beliefs” that did not support Stephens’ identity as a trans woman. This case will result in the Supreme Court’s first major ruling on trans rights.