September 13, 2022

(Columbus, OH and New York, NY) Equality Ohio, a statewide organization advancing the rights and protecting the well-being of LGBTQ+ Ohioans, and GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, are releasing research on the LGBTQ records of the candidates for U.S. Senate, Tim Ryan and J.D. Vance. They are running to succeed Sen. Rob Portman, who served two terms in the Senate. Portman announced his support for marriage equality and his support for his out gay son Will in 2013.

Equality Ohio and GLAAD urge the media to include LGBTQ+ people and issues in their coverage of the primary and general election campaign, and ask the candidates about their public statements, policies and proposals for LGBTQ+ Ohioans. 

Research on their records is available here and via Equality Ohio

Equality Ohio has also released its scorecard of all statewide candidates on their records for LGBTQ+ people, and will host a Statewide Candidate Forum on September 29th that will allow LGBTQ+ Ohioans and allies to hear directly from candidates for statewide offices. People can submit questions in advance of the forum and it will be live streamed on Equality Ohio’s YouTube and Facebook channels. 

GLAAD’s Guide to the Issues for the 2022 Election is here.

Statement from Alana Jochum Esq., Executive Director, Equality Ohio:
“Equality Ohio continues to welcome and work with the media—both in Ohio and across the country—who bring awareness about issues that impact LGBTQ+ Ohioans the most. We hope that this research, along with our recently publicized 2022 Ohio Lawmaker Equality Scorecard, sends a clear message that the half-a-million out LGBTQ+ Ohioans in our state, and the millions more that support them are important stakeholders for all voters to consider when they take their ballots to the box this fall. We are excited to take public education one step further this year by hosting a 2022 Candidate Forum on September 29th. We hope all Ohioans who care about these issues will submit questions and tune in via our YouTube and Facebook channels.”  

Statement from Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD:
“The media must hold elected leaders accountable to the truth and to the citizens they serve, especially LGBTQ people and youth who have been under relentless attack in state legislatures nationwide, including Ohio. This research will inform LGBTQ people and our allies across the state. The results of this race may very well determine control of the U.S. Senate, and it’s critical that Ohio’s LGBTQ and ally voters have the information they need to make informed decisions this election year.”

Media covering the campaign should note the candidates’ LGBTQ records and ask the candidates about them. The records include:

JD Vance, Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate

  • Used “groomer” rhetoric to criticize those against bills censoring classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity; rhetoric that child abuse prevention professionals say diminishes understanding about abuse, endangering all kids
    Claimed  that classroom censorship bills are about ‘parents’ rights,’ while an estimated two million children have LGBTQ+ parents, and as LGBTQ+ parents and parents who support LGBTQ+ people speak out against censorship bills
  • Campaign website says he is “100 percent pro-life” and that “Eliminating abortion is first and foremost about protecting the unborn, but it’s also about making our society more pro-child and pro-family.”
  • When asked during an interview with Spectrum News in September 2021 about whether abortion laws should include exceptions for rape and incest: “It’s not whether a woman should be forced to bring a child to term, it’s whether a child should be allowed to live, even though the circumstances of that child’s birth are somehow inconvenient or a problem to the society.”
  • Endorsed by impeached  President Donald Trump, whose administration led more than 200 attacks in policy and rhetoric against LGBTQ+ Americans; Vance also campaigned with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Donald Trump, Jr.,, and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who have proposed and signed laws, and spread inaccurate rhetoric and conspiracy theories to target LGBTQ+ people.

Tim Ryan, Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate

  • Ryan is an original cosponsor of The Equality Act, which would provide federal protections against discrimination for every LGBTQ+ American. He voted to pass it in the House in February 2021, tweeting: “Together we have imagined a more equal nation. Now we must realize it. I'm proud to have voted to advance the dignity & worth of every person in America by passing the Equality Act.” The bill is awaiting action in the Senate.
  • Cosponsored the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, requiring colleges and universities receiving federal student aid funding to prohibit harassment and to establish a grant program to support campus anti-harassment programs, a bill named for a college freshman who took his life after his dorm roommate outed him.
  • Voiced support for transgender military service members in 2017: “As a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I refuse to discriminate against those who selflessly chose to serve our nation in the United States Armed Forces. Our nation is stronger than that hateful bias.”
  • Expressed support for transgender Americans and their equality in 2019: “During #TransVisibilityWeek, I'm proud to display the transgender pride flag outside my DC office. We must all do our part to call out and push back against the hate and discrimination directed toward the trans community. They deserve equality and respect.”
  • Opposed to outdated and discriminatory screening based on sexual orientation for blood donation; The Red Cross announced in January that the nation’s blood supply was critically low and urged the FDA to update screening policies keeping LGBTQ+ people from donating.

Additional research:

  • 462,000 out LGBTQ+ people live in Ohio; 30% of them are raising children.
  • Ohio passed a law last year allowing medical professionals to reject services they “disagree” with based on philosophical objection, which disproportionately harms LGBTQ+ people from receiving healthcare.
  • Ohio Lawmakers have proposed a bill this year restricting discussion of race, sexual orientation and gender identity in K–12 classrooms; there is no statewide law to protect LGBTQ+ youth from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, nor a statewide law against so-called conversion therapy, which has been discredited and is illegal in 22 states. 
  • Ohio Lawmakers have introduced House Bill 704, a “personhood” bill which would effectively outlaw IVF and other forms of Assisted Reproductive Technologies in the state.
  • Ohio Business Competes is a growing statewide nonpartisan coalition of over 1,300 businesses committed to achieving nondiscrimination policies at the state level. The Ohio Fairness Act is the current legislation under consideration at the statehouse that would provide nondiscrimination protections in Ohio. 2021 marked its 10th introduction.
  • The Equality Act, which would provide comprehensive protections against discrimination to every LGBTQ+ American, is awaiting action in the U.S. Senate. The bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system.

About Equality Ohio:
Equality Ohio identifies and transforms systems and institutions so LGBTQ+ Ohioans can fully access legal and lived equality. Equality Ohio envisions an Ohio where people are welcome, affirmed and flourishing.