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Four Times John Kasich Blocked LGBT Equality

by HRC staff March 15, 2016

While the national spotlight has eluded Gov. John Kasich until recently, today’s Ohio primary is a game changer. Following a victory in the Buckeye State tonight, here’s a refresher on his dismal record on LGBT rights. Cruz and Trump may bark louder, but the reality is that Gov. Kasich remains dangerously out of step with the majority of Americans -- and voters in his own state -- on LGBT equality according to recent polling from the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute:

Here are four ways John Kasich has opposed LGBT equality during his political career:

As Governor, Broken Promises on Anti-Transgender Discrimination

While running for governor in 2010, Kasich told the Columbus Dispatch that he would renew an executive order--which was put in place by his predecessor, Ted Strickland--that would ensure no one would be fired or denied a state job because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Once elected, however, Kasich broke that promise and allowed protections for transgender workers to lapse. The Columbus Dispatch reported on January 22, 2011: “Asked why Kasich decided to omit it, spokesman Scott Milburn replied: ‘The governor is opposed to discrimination in state employment and has made that clear in this executive order in the way that he feels is most appropriate.’”

Because of Kasich, Ohio Still Lacks Explicit Statewide LGBT Non-Discrimination Protections

Kasich also told the Columbus Dispatch in 2010 that he would support a House bill to outlaw discrimination in Ohio based on sexual orientation. Under John Kasich’s leadership, Ohio remains one of 32 states that still lack fully inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBT residents -- despite overwhelming support in new nonpartisan polling. And, as the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported earlier this summer, Governor Kasich has refused to answer questions about where he stands on a new bill in Ohio that would offer non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Kasich Would Allow Businesses to Discriminate and Deny Service to LGBT Customers

Kasich said in a March 3 debate that it was “common sense” for a business to be able to discriminate against and deny service to a same-sex couple for religious reasons, and went on to suggest such a couple should find another business. This marks a reversal from Kasich’s position in a prior debate where he said, “f you're in the business of selling things, if you're not going to sell to somebody you don't agree with, today I'm not going to sell to somebody who's gay, then tomorrow maybe I won't sell to somebody who's divorced.”

Kasich Still Opposes Marriage Equality

In that same March 3 debate, Kasich responded to a question from Fox News moderator Brett Baier by doubling down on his opposition to last year’s Supreme Court ruling establishing nationwide marriage equality. This is nothing new: as recently as 2014, Kasich said he supported Ohio’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as “one man, one woman.”

HRC staff
HRC staff


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