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Cavaliers' Larry Nance Jr. supports Ohio's LGBTQ discrimination protection bill: 'We're past that as a society'

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·3 min read
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Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. is working off the court to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in the state of Ohio. It's a cause he told the Ohio Capital Journal isn't a political matter, but rather one of human rights and fairness.

Nance is working with state representatives to pass the Ohio Fairness Act, legislation that extends discrimination protection to the LGBTQ community and has been proposed in each Ohio general assembly for more than a decade.

"How we, as a state, are still denying discrimination protection against LGBTQ people is beyond me," Nance, who grew up in Akron, wrote in a tweet on Wednesday. "We should be embarrassed. We are better than this Ohio."

Nance lends efforts to LGBTQ equality

Nance, 28, began doing research into matters of interest to him after the killing of George Floyd last year and the ensuing racial justice protests. Equality Ohio, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, contacted him about the lack of legislation protecting LGBTQ individuals.

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Since there is no law prohibiting such discrimination, Ohioans can be evicted from homes or denied services of any sort, including at restaurants, simply for their gender identity or sexual orientation. Alana Jochum, executive director of Equality Ohio, told WOSU Radio in March of 2019 they do receive calls of such discrimination happening.

“I thought there’s no way that’s true,” Nance said, via the Capitol Journal. “But after looking into it, I saw that it was true, and it was appalling to me that as a society we’re not past that and better than this.”

A version of the Equality Ohio bill has been introduced seven times in the past 11 years beginning in March of 2008. State Rep. Dan Stewart (D-Columbus) and Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) have introduced the bill with Republican co-sponsors.

Nance optimistic about LBGTQ protection in Ohio

Nance said he's been in communication with Democrat and Republican legislators working to get the bill passed in the Ohio House. As someone with a large platform in the state, he said it's important to lend his voice to it and educate people on the legislation. Late last month he made the call on Twitter for businesses to sign on to remove discriminatory laws.

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He's optimistic it will "make a lot of ground" in the next cycle.

“To me this is about the treatment of individual people. It’s about the rights of individual humans that I’m concerned with,” Nance Jr. said, via the Capitol Journal. “I have LGBTQ family members. The fact they can be refused housing, or kicked out of their house by their landlord who disagrees with their life, is disgusting. We’re past that as a society.”

The U.S. Supreme Court rule in 2020 that LGBTQ individuals are protected from job discrimination as part of the Civil Rights Law of 1964. But there is still no protection in Ohio, as well as certain other states, for discrimination in other areas such as housing, credit and services. The state does count race, color, ancestry, national origin, sex, age (if older than 40, religion, military status and qualified disabilities as protected classes.

Larry Nance Jr.
Cleveland Cavaliers' Larry Nance Jr. is fighting to pass legislation protecting LGBTQ people. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

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