A new report was released this month ranking the business climate for LGTBQ+ people in all 50 states.
Ohio scored a 53.43 out of 100, a failing score that actually represents an increase over 2021.
Out Leadership’s State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index measures “the impact government policies and prevalent attitudes have on LGBTQ+ people residing in each state, quantifying the economic imperatives for inclusion and the costs of discrimination.”
The survey is specifically geared towards helping business leaders make equitable decisions about where to set up operations.
“The 2022 State Level Business Climate Index is a living roadmap, highlighting the places where we must be both reactive and proactive, says Todd Sears, Founder & CEO of Out Leadership.
Criteria for scoring included legal and nondiscrimination protections, youth and family support, political and religious attitudes. health access and safety, and work environment and employment. Positive scores were given to policies that provided protections or equal treatment for LGBTQ+ individuals; negative scores were given to legislation or policy marginalizing or discriminating against LGBTQ+ people, as well as to instances where protections excluded LGBTQ+ people.
Out of the 20 different metrics, Ohio received perfect scores in the two categories of “Senator 1” (Sherrod Brown) and the state’s current lack of a ban on discussing LGBTQ+ issues in schools, a score that could change if HB 616 is passed through the Ohio legislature. HB 616 would prohibit the “promotion and teaching of divisive or inherently racist concepts in public schools” while also nixing educational materials about sexual orientation and gender identity. Educators would be in danger of losing their teaching credentials.
Ohio’s 2022 score of 53.43 is up 4.53 points over the state’s 2021 score.
The rubric does not take into account the latest legislative actions by the Ohio, including the recent late-night passing of a trans youth sports ban in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Ohio ranked 31 out of 50 in the overall state rankings, and placed 8th regionally among the 12 midwest states.
LGBTQ+ advocates say there is a direct link between the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation proposed by the Ohio legislature and the climate for businesses in the state.
“These bills have had a chilling effect on the way businesses look at Ohio,” said Maria Bruno, Public Policy Director for Equality Ohio. “It is no coincidence that the Ohio Chamber of Commerce immediately put out a statement questioning the merits of HB 616 and that 1,200 businesses and orgs support passing the Fairness Act, which would provide protections in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations.”
As arguments against Ohio’s slate of discriminatory LGBTQ+ bills often include the economic impact on the state as a whole, some advocates say the voice of businesses can make a difference…if they choose to speak up.
“Yes, we need corporations to move to Ohio that have a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion within their culture and policies,” said Amanda Cole, Executive Director of Plexus LGBT + Allied Chamber of Commerce. “But we also need for them to align their internal policies with their external efforts and to use their influence to defeat bills that are actively harming Ohio’s queer communities.”
This story was originally published by The Buckeye Flame and is republished here with permission.
The Buckeye Flame is an platform dedicated to amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ Ohioans to support community and civic empowerment through the creation of engaging content that chronicles their triumphs, struggles, and lived experiences.