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Antidiscrimination Bill Stuck in Ohio Senate


A bill prohibiting employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity that passed the Ohio house earlier this month may falter in the Republican-controlled senate, where legislators question whether the protections are necessary.

In a first for LGBT rights legislation in either Ohio chamber, the house voted 56-39 to pass the Equal Housing and Employment Act September 15, and Gov. Ted Strickland hailed the step.

However, the bill appears likely to stall in the senate rules committee, where Republicans such as state senator Bill Seitz fret that it could burden business interests with frivolous lawsuits and new affirmative action imperatives, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Seitz also questioned the need for the legislation, saying, "Given that so many companies have voluntarily adopted these kinds of policies, there are plenty of employment opportunities for folks regardless of their sexual orientation," the Enquirer reported.

The bill includes exemptions for religious groups and businesses with fewer than 15 employees.

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