Today, the Kent City Council voted 8-0 to pass a comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinance for Kent’s LGBTQ community. These comprehensive protections shield LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, and they establish a local remedy for resolving discrimination incidents. Portage DSA has been working with Kent 4 Equality, a coalition comprised of Equality Ohio, the local Indivisible group and others, along with the city and council, for several weeks to pass this legislation.
In April, the council added sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in Kent’s existing employment and housing laws. Today’s vote added nondiscrimination protections in public accommodations for all protected classes, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
Discrimination incidents will be enforced with mediation and, if necessary, with misdemeanor charges.
Portage DSA applauds the city of Kent and the council for their decision to make Kent a more equitable place. Kent now joins 18 other Ohio cities to pass such protections for LGBTQ people. We hope that the state lawmakers follow these cities’ lead to make Ohio more politically and economically democratic and open for all.