Urbana lawmaker backs bill to protect ministers from having to perform gay weddings


An Urbana lawmaker’s bill that he says will protect ministers and religious organizations from being forced to perform gay weddings is set for its first hearing at the statehouse this morning.

Republican Nino Vitale introduced the bill last summer after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationally. Vitale’s bill would allow pastors and ministers to decline officiating gay weddings. Some experts say the bill is not needed because that protection already lies in the First Amendment.

Here's a story reporter Matt Sanctis did in July when Vitale introduced the bill.

Sanctis reported this summer that Vitale’s bill is similar to legislation that has already been approved in Texas, he said. Even if clergy members are already protected, the lawmaker said the bill would provide an extra layer of clarity.

“What I think makes Ohio and America great is we’re a great melting pot,” Vitale said. “We have different faith communities, we have different religions, we have different ethnicities. We’ve been living in relative harmony in this country for a long, long time and I just don’t want to see people suing each other.”

The bill would not apply to business such as bakeries and florists.

Here's the description of House Bill 286:

To provide that an ordained or licensed minister or religious society is not required to solemnize a marriage and a religious society is not required to allow any building or property of the religious society to be used to host a marriage ceremony if the marriage does not conform to the ordained or licensed minister's or religious society's sincerely held religious beliefs, to provide that an ordained or licensed minister or religious society is not subject to civil or criminal liability for such a denial, and to provide that the state and political subdivisions may not penalize or withhold benefits to an ordained or licensed minister or religious society for such a denial


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Ohio Politics

Cincinnati police investigate crash claiming life of 22-year-old
Cincinnati police investigate crash claiming life of 22-year-old

The Cincinnati Police Department is investigating a fatal crash that claimed the life of a 22-year-old male early Saturday morning. Traffic units responded to 406 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at approximately 1:10 a.m. According to a release, Christian McClain was operating a 2017 Toyota Camry westbound on Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., lost control...
Missing Centerville woman, 85, sparks statewide alert
Missing Centerville woman, 85, sparks statewide alert

A Missing Endangered Adult Alert is in effect for a missing 85-year-old Centerville woman. Dorothy Reker was last seen at noon Friday when she left her residence and failed to return. She stands 4 feet, 11 inches, weighs 110 pounds and has brown hair and hazel eyes. She suffers from memory loss and is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease...
Trial date set for former GOP statehouse candidate in extortion case
Trial date set for former GOP statehouse candidate in extortion case

A former Republican statehouse candidate faces an October trial date on charges related to statements she made about her opponent, State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, in their primary race this year. Jocelyn Smith, 36, of Fairborn, faces a third-degree felony count of extortion and a second-degree misdemeanor count of coercion, according to court...
U.S. productivity grew at strong 2.9% rate in Q2
U.S. productivity grew at strong 2.9% rate in Q2

U.S. productivity grew at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the second quarter, the fastest pace in more than three years, while labor costs actually fell. The April-June increase in productivity followed a much weaker 0.3 percent rate of gain in the first quarter, the Labor Department reported. It was the strongest advance since a 3.1 percent gain...
U.S. doesn’t know where as many as 1,500 immigrant children are, Ohio Sen. Portman says
U.S. doesn’t know where as many as 1,500 immigrant children are, Ohio Sen. Portman says

Sen. Rob Portman expressed astonishment at Trump administration officials Thursday who seemed unable to say for certain the whereabouts of as many as 1,500 immigrant children who entered the United States on their own during the past few years. At a Senate subcommittee hearing, Portman, R-Ohio, seemed frustrated that “no one’s responsible&rdquo...
More Stories