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Ohio House Passes 'Pastor Protection' Act, Despite Discrimination Concerns

church pastor robe
Columbus Neighborhoods

The House passed the hotly debated “Pastor Protection” Act today. Democratic lawmakers argued that the bill would create a way for businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people. The bill now goes on to the Senate.

Republican Nino Vitale has pushed for the “Pastor Protection” Act, HB36, since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.

His bill would allow clergy to refuse to solemnize marriages based on religious beliefs.

“They see a very clear and real reason for the protection that this bill provides,” Vitale says.

But Democrat Janine Boyd stood against a provision which she says allows other undefined groups to refuse public accommodations.

“Proprietors of property and services that rent to the public at-large can turn away members of the LGBTQ community,” Boyd says.

Opponents also argue that religious leaders are already protected under the Constitution.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.