The Human Rights Campaign recently evaluated the 50 states according to the protection each provides lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer residents and visitors. Ohio did not fare well. The state landed in the bottom tier.

So there is work to do in combating discrimination. Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the determination of many advocates, gay marriage now is legal across the country. Yet Ohio and other states still leave room for discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in such areas as housing and employment.

With all of this in mind, advocates gathered at the Statehouse the week before last to press the case for House Bill 160. Introduced nearly a year ago by state Rep. Nickie Antonio, a Lakewood Democrat, the measure has not moved forward, or received the attention it deserves.

Actually, that has been the troubling response for years. Republicans in charge of the legislature have resisted the need to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodations. They have done so even though practical experience and mounting evidence indicate otherwise.

Polls show strong support for the protection, roughly 70 percent of Ohioans, majorities of both Republicans and Democrats. Antonio has taken care to preserve the capacity of religious organization to deny services and employment because of their faith. She is right that it isn’t sufficient for cities such as Akron to ban such discrimination. The prohibition must extend across the state.

The business community understands the need. For the first time, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce has added its support to the Antonio legislation. Among the advocacy groups at the Statehouse was the Ohio Business Competes Coalition, a collection of more than 300 companies, universities and other entities backing protection for the gay and lesbian community.

They argue the legislation is good for business, the state signaling its firm commitment to inclusion and diversity, in a better position to compete by drawing on the broadest pool of talent. The participants from this section of the state include Summa Health, the Cleveland Clinic, Timken Steel, Sherwin Williams, Lubrizol and Kent State University.

John Kasich made an indirect case for House Bill 160 last month in a CNN interview following the U.S. Senate election in Alabama. The governor talked about his Republican Party, but the focus might as well have been Ohio. He stressed that “the party is losing the future as we’re standing here today. I mean the future is young people,” adding the party needs “an agenda that is not reflected on yesterday, but on tomorrow.”

Millennials overwhelmingly support protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Such support goes beyond what benefits business or competitiveness. House Bill 160 is the right thing to do. Many Ohioans face unjust treatment. The law belongs on their side.