Show Your Support for Religious Freedom and the Ohio RFRA Bill

This page will serve to update you on the progress of the Ohio RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) bill as well as provide you with concurrent ways to show your support and help the bill move forward into law.

Background and Resources:

Bill Summary:
Representatives Bill Patmon and Timothy Derickson have introduced H.B. 376 called the Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This legislation resembles the federal RFRA. The Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 1993, aimed to prevent laws that substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion. The RFRA restored the requirement of strict scrutiny application in religious freedom cases, the same test used by the Supreme Court prior to its decision in Unemployment v. Smith (1990). In City of Boerne v. Flores (1997), however, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress lacked the authority to mandate how state laws should be interpreted. As a result, RFRA still applies to the interpretation of federal statutes, but not to state laws. This Supreme Court ruling has encouraged states to implement their own Religious Freedom Restoration Acts to uphold and protect their First Amendment Rights.

Two Great Articles by CCV’s Charles Tassell as to why Ohio needs a RFRA:

“Is a Bill on Religious Liberties Necessary for Ohio?:” http://ohioconservativereview.com/2013/12/03/is-a-bill-on-religious-liberties-necessary-for-ohio/

“In Search of Religious Freedom in Ohio:” http://ohioconservativereview.com/2013/12/03/in-search-of-religious-freedom-in-ohio/

PDF Copy of Bill: https://d3dkdvqff0zqx.cloudfront.net/groups/ccv/attachments/ohio_rfra_11-25.pdf

Current Status Updates:

updated 3/6/2014

Defending Religious Freedom: CCV Responds to Withdrawal of Ohio Religious Freedom Bill

On Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 co-sponsors Rep. Tim Derickson (R-Butler Co) and Rep. Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) withdrew Ohio HB 376, the Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This was on the heels of the media hysteria over the update to the Arizona RFRA, SB 1062, now vetoed by AZ Governor Jan Brewer.

We were quite disappointed that a bill that would have merely reiterated Ohioans’ First Amendment rights–the freedom to practice one’s sincerely held religious beliefs without threat of undue punishment by the state or other citizens–was needlessly withdrawn once “deeply misleading” criticism (as law professors called it) surfaced from same-sex marriage lobby groups.

Ohio HB 376 was modeled on and directly quotes the bipartisan federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that was signed into law by President Clinton in 1993.

The RFRA restored the requirement of strict scrutiny application in religious freedom cases, the same test used by the Supreme Court prior to 1990.

Was Bill Clinton anti-gay when he signed the bill? How about Ted Kennedy, Diane Feinstein, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid or any of the other 97 senators and 425 Representatives who almost unanimously voted to pass the federal RFRA to protect basic First Amendment rights of religious freedom of individuals?

No.

They passed that bill to reiterate the American ideal that people of all belief systems, all races, all backgrounds, and all sexual attractions have the freedom to practice their sincerely held religious beliefs unless the government can prove a compelling state interest in curtailing them.

Under the City of Boerne v. Flores (1997), the U.S. Supreme Court instructed states to pass their own RFRA’s. With almost 50 House co-sponsors, Ohio was set to join 17 other states that have passed a RFRA.

Contrary to now-popular falsehoods, no RFRA has ever been used to discriminate. “In fact, since RFRA was passed in 1993 and adopted by many states, not a single person has used RFRA to defend racist business practices or discrimination against gay people in court.”

The Left, as documented by the federal RFRA vote in 1993, used to understand this. “In 1993, the Left cared about individual rights.  That’s what made them “liberals.” They didn’t think the government should be able to tell individuals not to do things simply because they didn’t personally agree with their choices.”

Sadly, now those voices are drowned out by a mob mentality that seeks to impose their views and actions on everyone else, the epitome of intolerance. It’s not enough for them that the Colorado baker, New Mexico photographer, and Washington florist never refused to serve someone based on one’s sexual orientation. So much for tolerating different views and lifestyle choices; so much for live and let live…

Their actions on RFRA now betray their true intentions.

However, this is not the end for religious freedom in Ohio, but a beginning.

Pro-family organizations in Ohio, led by Citizens for Community Values, are already redoubling efforts to address these “egregious” lies and attacks on religious freedom and civil liberties. Together, we will continue to promote and protect religious freedom, marriage, family, and children in Ohio. We will stand together to defend liberty and the First Amendment from all who would seek to trample freedom and coerce and compel a free people.