DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Many Miami Valley LGBTQ advocates are hailing Monday’s Supreme Court decision. Ohioans will now be protected from being fired for their sexual orientation. Some advocates and leaders say these protections may be even more important than marriage equality.
R.J. McKay is the president of The Greater Dayton LGBT Center. He says, “The marriage equality case was huge because it was first. This one is huge because it affects everybody.”
Years ago McKay worked in human resources and says many HR professionals at the time weren’t aware people could be fired, legally, because of their sexual orientation. “They didn’t realize that there was a distinguished lack of protection for LGBTQ folks. People just assumed it was already in the law, when really when it came to court cases like the lower courts ruled there was no protection for the plaintiffs in this case.”
The city of Dayton has long been lauded for its inclusivity. Mayor Whaley praised the ruling. “One of my friends texted me and said it’s really great that the LGBT community can get married on Sunday and not be fired on Monday.”
The decision bans discrimination based on sex, which includes sexual orientation and gender identity. McKay says, “We didn’t have that ability to say who we really were and what we really did, with whom we were really doing things.”
He says now people can be themselves at work without fear of retribution. “Gay and lesbian and transgender folks don’t have to sit out and think they’re hiding anything anymore because they might get fired if they accidentally say ‘my boyfriend and I’ or ‘my girlfriend and I’ in the work context.”
Despite the significance of Monday’s ruling, McKay says there is still a long way to go. He says discrimination in housing, healthcare, and mortgage approval still needs to be addressed.