Prizm News / April 16, 2018 / By Bob Vitale
Richard Cordray, a Democrat running for governor of Ohio in the May 8 primary, speaks to representatives of LGBTQ organizations on Tuesday in Columbus. He’s joined by his running mate, Betty Sutton. (Photo courtesy of True Media.)

‘We want to stand for something totally different,’ the Democrat says as he calls for progress again on LGBTQ issues.


Democrat Richard Cordray told LGBTQ leaders in Columbus today that after eight years of defense under Gov. John Kasich and Republicans in the General Assembly, he would push for progress on issues of civil rights, health and safety.

“We want to stand for something totally different,” the former Ohio attorney general and head of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said. “I want to stand for an Ohio that is proudly tolerant of diversity.”

Cordray and his running mate, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, released a list of priorities for the LGBTQ community at a Downtown meeting with the leaders of about 15 local and statewide organizations.

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The two are competing in the Democratic gubernatorial primary against former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni and former Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill. A new poll by Fallon Research for a group called the 1984 Society shows Cordray leading Kucinich by 12 percentage points—Schiavoni and O’Neill hand 5 percent or less—with more than half of Democratic voters undecided.

An earlier poll by Survey USA for WOIO-TV in Cleveland showed Cordray and Kucinich tied.

Prizm survey of Democratic candidates found Cordray, Kucinich and Schiavoni all supportive of LGBTQ issues such as expanding Ohio’s nondiscrimination laws and allowing transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates. O’Neill didn’t respond.

Cordray today elaborated on four issues:

  • He called for passage of the Ohio Fairness Act, introduced by state Rep. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, which would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the state’s nondiscrimination laws. He also said existing religious exemptions in state laws do nothave to be expanded.
  • He vowed to sign an executive order soon after taking office that prohibits discrimination in state government employment, instate employees’ delivery of government services, and by state contractors.
  • He said he would improve access to healthcare, end a state policy that prohibits transgender Ohioans from changing the gender marker on their birth certificates, provide training on LGBTQ issues and collect more LGBTQ-inclusive data in shaping state policies.
  • He said state Medicaid, child welfare and other money should not be used to pay for so-called “conversion therapy.”

“It is way past time for the state of Ohio to have a state government that represents the LGBT community,” Cordray said.

He accused conservative Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly of “refusing to accept” the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision that extended marriage rights nationwide to same-sex couples.

Their focus on trying to undo the decision that resolved a case involving gay and lesbian couples from Ohio is diverting attention from issues such as the opioid crisis, deteriorating infrastructure and education that the state must address, he said.

Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.