Ohio Gov. John Kasich Wednesday issued an Executive Order, 2018-12K, changing the anti-discrimination policy for state employees to include "gender identity or expression,” reports local NBC News affiliate, WCMH.
With just weeks left in Kasich’s term as governor, the order bans discrimination based on "gender identity and expression" in state personnel decisions.
The new language replaces the executive order put in place by Kasich when he took office in 2011, which included race, color, religion, gender, national origin, military status, disability, age and sexual orientation, but not gender identity.
LGBTQ advocacy group Freedom for All Americans says the executive order makes Kasich “the first Republican Governor of a state without statutory protections for LGBTQ people to issue an executive order protecting state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.”
An outspoken critic of Donald Trump, Kasich has indicated he’s considering a 2020 challenge for the Republican presidential nomination in 2020, and this may be an attempt to show GOP voters a more moderate side of the Republican Party.
It’s just the right thing to do.
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) December 19, 2018
A statement from Equality Ohio applauded the move:
This leadership has never been more important. At a time when the basic rights of transgender people to exist in public, to serve in our military, and to access basic health care are at risk, we applaud Governor Kasich for his recognition of our shared humanity with common-sense protections.
Although Kasich’s successor, Governor-elect Mike DeWine (R), could rescind the order when he takes office next month, Freedom for All Americans reports he has “expressed an openness to preserving Kasich’s executive orders.”