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August 15, 2008

Equality Ohio endorses six Statehouse candidates

Columbus--Equality Ohio announced its first round of endorsements for Statehouse races after its July board meeting.

Five Ohio House candidates and a Senate one got the nod, and more may come.

In making the recommendations, the group gave strong consideration to candidates’ support of the Equal Housing and Employment Non-Discrimination Act, now in the legislature.

In the Ohio Senate, they endorsed Danielle Blue, a Democrat hoping to represent the 16th District, which encompasses suburbs to the west and south of Columbus.

Endorsed candidates for the House are Democrats Marian Harris in the 19th District, which includes parts of Columbus and eastern suburbs; John Patrick Carney in the 22nd District including Columbus, Clintonville and Dublin; Ted Celeste, the incumbent in the 24th District of Columbus, Upper Arlington and Grandview Heights; and Connie Pillich in the 28th District, which includes Sharonville and other Cincinnati suburbs.

The endorsements are sent to the Equality Ohio Campaign Fund for possible campaign contributions. Equality Ohio will also direct volunteers to endorsed campaigns.

All Ohio House races and Senate seats on the ballot are being surveyed.

Equality Ohio Public Policy Committee chair Douglas Braun said more endorsements will come in September.

“There could be as many as 50 endorsements,” Braun said.

The candidates were sent 21 questions, including changes to the gender markers on state identification documents, domestic partner benefits for state employees, marriage equality, sex education, HIV and AIDS, adoption and hate crime legislation.

But, according to Braun, the main criterion is their support of EHEA, which is Equality Ohio’s top legislative priority.

The measure prohibits discrimination by sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in public and private employment, housing and public accommodations.

Braun said that is one of the ways his group’s endorsements differ from those of other LGBT organizations.

Braun added that other considered factors include if the Democratic and Republican parties are targeting the seats, and the level of opposition to the 2004 constitutional marriage ban amendment within the district.

The grassroots organization America Votes is partnering with Equality Ohio.

Equality Ohio also endorsed likely Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and Democratic Ohio Attorney General candidate Richard Cordray, who is currently state treasurer.

Obama and Cordray were endorsed without answering questionnaires.

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