Vitale proposes bill to protect pastors



COLUMBUS — A bill to protect pastors who cite religious beliefs for not performing same-sex marriages will soon be introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Rep. Nino Vitale, R-Urbana, 85th District, said he will be introducing the bill that will protect pastors, ministers and members of the clergy and any associated property from lawsuits.

The press release concerning the legislation continues, “This protection will allow these individuals to exercise religious liberty and only perform ceremonies if they are in line with their deeply held religious beliefs. Ohio’s pastors and church organizations should not be forced to violate their conscience.”

The state of Ohio, said the release, currently protects the personal convictions and conscientious objections of all citizens in many other areas of the revised code. This measure just clarifies that these individuals need not be concerned about being sued if they are acting as they believe is right.

“This is not an issue of discrimination,” said Vitale. “It is an issue of protection; protection for those who have committed their lives to the service of God and their community.”

Similar legislation in Texas has passed both chambers with bi-partisan support and has been signed by the governor and will soon become law. This has also passed at least one chamber in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Alabama.

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