Executive Orders: Kasich, Snyder, and DeWine Take Action

By Natasha Smith • January 12, 2019 • 8:00 am

The bipartisan momentum for LGBTQ nondiscrimination is undeniable, and lawmakers at all levels of government – and from both political parties – are taking action to protect their LGBTQ constituents from discrimination. Between December 2018 and January 2019, six governors from both political parties signed executive orders prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ state employees – including outgoing Governors John Kasich (R-OH) and Rick Snyder (R-MI), and new Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH). These executive orders pave the way towards comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for all LGBTQ Americans.

In what will be a defining element of his legacy, Ohio Governor Kasich became the first Republican Governor of a state without statutory protections for LGBTQ people to issue an executive order protecting state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Kasich explained his decision by simply saying, “It’s just the right thing to do.” Kasich’s successor, Mike DeWine, re-issued Kasich’s executive order on day one of his term.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder also signed a pro-LGBTQ executive order in one of his last acts as Governor, saying, “State government is one of the biggest buyers of goods and services in Michigan and therefore is uniquely positioned to be a leader in ensuring fair treatment for people in employment.” Newly-sworn in Michigan Governor Gretchen Witmer expanded on Snyder’s order shortly after she took office.

We believe that these executive orders from governors of both parties demonstrate the urgent need to pass enduring and comprehensive protections through state legislatures. Our nation is at its strongest when we’re all free to work hard, earn a decent living, and go about our lives without fear of discrimination.

While executive orders bring relief to those they cover – often LGBTQ state employees or employees of state contractors – discrimination in the workplace, in housing, and in public spaces continues to affect LGBTQ people nationwide.

Visit the new Faces of Freedom storytelling hub to learn about how discrimination impacts real people each and every day. The new website features more than 350 stories from nearly every state.


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