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Cuyahoga County considers new commission to address discrimination complaints, broadens rights protections

June 12, 2018

Cuyahoga County considers new commission to address discrimination complaints, broadens rights protections

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cuyahoga County Council is considering legislation that would establish a commission to hear discrimination complaints, including complaints related to sexual orientation and gender identification. 

The legislation, introduced Tuesday, would establish a three-person Cuyahoga County Commission on Human Rights. The members would be attorneys and would have the authority to levy fines if they determine discrimination has occurred. 

Money collected from those fines would be used to fund efforts to provide education and awareness regarding the problems and effects of prejudice, intolerance, bigotry and discrimination. 

The legislation was introduced by County Executive Armond Budish, County Council President Dan Brady and Council members Dale Miller and Michael Houser. 

The legislation will be heard by council’s Committee of the Whole. 

“This is an important step forward in our quest to make sure that all residents have equal access to justice and that they feel safe and supported,” Budish said in a news release. “You can say that you support equal rights for all, but until there is legislation that supports this, it isn’t a reality.” 

The proposed ordinance supports current protections against discrimination based upon race, color, religion, military status, national origin, disability, age, ancestry and gender. It adds sexual orientation and gender identification to that list. 

The protections target equal access and opportunities to employment, housing, and public accommodations. 

Luis Cartagena, the county’s inclusion officer, would serve as executive director. 

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