Traditional values advocates are warning Ohio residents about a bill heavily supported by the most powerful lobbying group in Ohio.
HB 160, sponsored by Democratic Representative Nickie Antonio, has been submitted in the lower chamber of the Ohio General Assembly. Antonio says the "Ohio Fairness Act," as it is known, would bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations in the state. Her office says more than 200 Ohio businesses have expressed support for the measure.
But Aaron Baer of Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values tells OneNewsNow the legislation is both anti-business and anti-freedom.
"This legislation proposes 'to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression,'" he quotes from the bill. "However, it actually ... creates a discriminatory environment against people of faith in the marketplace and in ministry.
"The worst part about this bill as we've seen is that it could very well shut down Christian ministries in the adoption agency world [and] homeless shelters."
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce supports the bill, which the CCV president contends could shut down drug addiction recovery facilities and even force traditional values organizations to hire people opposed to their agenda. And there's more ...
"There's a specific provision in this bill that says domestic violence shelters in Ohio could lose state funding if they don't allow biological men into their facilities," Baer adds.
"Now just imagine what that would mean to these women who have been abused – and it's absolutely hypocritical of the Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio state house to even be considering a bill like this that would open women up to more assault."
In addition, says Baer, it might destroy Christian-owned businesses that refuse to accommodate the LGBT lifestyle in their shops. "[They] are merely trying to live their lives, run their businesses, and serve in their community – but they may not want to participate in certain religious ceremonies or communicate certain messages," he explains.
Baer calls the legislation "harmful and needless" – and remains hopeful the state's lawmakers reject it.