Ohio bill would bar forcing churches to do same-sex weddings


COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio House just passed a bill where religious conservatives were able to get language that explicitly says clergy do not have to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies if they don’t want to.

From the Dayton Daily News:

The House on Wednesday voted 59-29 in favor of a bill sponsored by state Rep. Nino Vitale, R-Urbana.

Equality Ohio, a gay rights group, said the bill is unnecessary because clergy’s right to refuse is already embedded in the constitution.

The problem is that the bill goes further, allowing ‘religious societies’ to refuse wedding-related services to couples of all sorts — gay, interracial, interfaith, according to Equality Ohio Director Alan Jochum. “Property and services rented to the public at large must be available to all, regardless of race, sex, religion and other protected characteristics.”

State Rep. Janine Boyd, D-Cleveland Heights, said it would give “undefined” religious societies to turn away couples because of their sexual orientation.

The anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court confirming marriage equality was just the day before, on Tuesday, June 26.