Kasich Order Protects Transgender State Employees From Discrimination

Dec 20, 2018

In an executive order, Gov. John Kasich has added "gender identity" into protections against discrimination for state employees, but those protections might not last very long.

Gender identity wasn’t included in previous executive orders or in state law on discrimination. Ohio also does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment or housing.

The order, which he signed Wednesday, is a change for Kasich, who says he’s a conservative but has opposed the Trump Administration. Kasich’s health department director and incoming Gov. Mike DeWine were sued in 2013 over the state’s policy against listing same-sex spouses on death certificates. That resulted in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court same sex marriage ruling.

Kasich’s executive order appears to expire when he leaves office on January 13. 

A bill that would cement LGBTQ protections in state anti-discrimination laws is backed by a coalition of Ohio businesses, but has been stalled in the Republican-dominated legislature since May. At the same time, the Ohio House passed a bill known as the "Pastor Protection Act" that critics say could extend opportunities to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

A spokesman for DeWine says he is reviewing all executive orders to make decisions after his inauguration.