Columbus, Ohio (AP) -- Largely along party lines, the Ohio house has passed a gay rights bill that took years to make it to a floor vote.
The legislation barring employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was approved 56-39 on Tuesday, with all majority democrats in attendance voting yes, along with five republicans.
The bill's supporters called its protections a matter of fairness, while opponents said the measure is aimed at forcing people to accept a lifestyle that many have a problem with, on religious grounds.
The legislation now goes to the republican-controlled Ohio senate.
Senate president Bill Harris has said the bill is not necessary and would place a burden on businesses.
(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)