Better Know An Anti-LGBT Senate Candidate: State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R-OH)

Twelfth in a series examining how anti-LGBT Senate candidates have worked to hurt the cause of equality.

Less than halfway through his first term as Ohio State Treasurer, Josh Mandel (R) is his party’s nominee against incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (D). Unlike Brown, a strong supporter of LGBT equality, Mandel has a consistent record of opposing the LGBT community.

Over his four years as a state representative, two years as State Treasurer, and this Senate campaign:

1. Mandel has opposed marriage equality for same-sex couples. Mandel told a Tea Party rally in July that he would “protect the sanctity of marriage,” adding that “this is a fight that I will never, ever back down.” In May, he told the conservative Human Events that “Ohioans demonstrated in ’04 their support for traditional marriage when they overwhelming voted for an amendment saying just this. That’s my position, and it is an issue in this [Senate] race.”


2. Mandel thinks it should be legal to fire someone just for being gay. In 2009, as a state representative, Mandel voted against Ohio HB 176, the state’s proposed Equal Housing and Employment Act. That law would have made it illegal to discriminate against LGBT Ohioans in hiring, firing, and housing decisions based purely on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Ironically, a Mandel spokesman claimed in 2011 that “Josh has always opposed discrimination against any American citizen.”

3. Mandel abandoned his earlier support for domestic partnership benefits. In 2000, as undergraduate student government president at The Ohio State University, he supported a plan to let qualified students buy student health insurance for their domestic partners. At the time, he told the campus newspaper, “The undergraduate student government representatives have been and will continue to advocate for domestic-partner benefits in public and private settings. Students want it, students deserve it, and the university has a responsibility to provide it.” Eleven years later, his spokesman told Politifact Ohio that Mandel now “feels he was wrong in college about domestic partner benefits and feels strongly that they should never be funded with taxpayer dollars.”

Watch Mandel speaking at the anti-LGBT CPAC convention:

In just a few years in politics, Mandel has already made it clear he will oppose equality at every chance. His election to the U.S. Senate would be a huge threat to LGBT people and families.


In an October 18 debate, Mandel also announced that he continues to oppose the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, even though the policy has had no negative impact on military readiness. He also reaffirmed his support for Ohio’s marriage inequality amendment.