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Does Lakewood offer protections to LGBT population?

Posted December 23, 2016
2:14 pm

On June 20th, the City Council of Lakewood passed an ordinance that extends the city’s non-discrimination laws to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens. Ohio is one of 28 states which do not currently have statewide protections for the LGBT population. However, the passage of Ordinance 1-16 will make Lakewood one of 15 cities in the state to adopt such legislation.1

Prior to the passage of this law, there was no protection against discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in Lakewood in the areas of housing and employment. However, with the enactment of this ordinance, no citizen of Lakewood can be fired, evicted from their home, or denied government services based on the person’s gender identity or sexual orientation. Employers can only fire, promote, or hire employees based on job performance. The ordinance was spearheaded by City Councilman Dan O’Malley and supported by a great number of city council members.

The ordinance also created a three member human rights committee to hear complaints about violations of the new law. The committee will hear complaints of discrimination based on age, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or physical characteristics. The committee will have some enforcement powers, including the option of requiring
employers to rehire fired victims of discrimination, and instituting fines of up to $500 for damages.

Similar legislation in the City of Cleveland was debated and passed in July 2016. In 2009, Cleveland passed protections against discrimination for LGBT citizens in the areas of public services (such as bathrooms), but lawmakers amended the language to exclude private businesses from the requirements. Due to the passage of this new legislation, private business owners cannot legally deny public accommodations on the basis of perceived gender or gender identity. The new law, Ordinance 1446.13,2 allows people who are transgender to use the bathroom, locker room, and
dressing room of their choosing. Similar legislation in other Ohio communities such as Columbus and Bexley has already passed.3

1Lakewood Ordinance 1-16:
2Cleveland Ordinance 1446:

By Olivia Milne

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