Ohio LGBT Group Announces Plans to Target Churches for Homosexual Weddings
An LGBT organization in Ohio has announced plans to target churches if they refuse to offer their property to be used in a homosexual wedding. In opposing the Ohio Pastor Protection Act (HB-36), the group Equality Ohio announced that they would target churches, forcing them to rent church facilities to groups that oppose their beliefs. This despite the fact that all the Roman Catholic bishops in Ohio support the bill, and Catholics make up approximately 20 percent of the state's population.
When asked "if a church community has a church hall that they rent to couples who want to have that wedding reception in that hall ... should that church hall and church community be forced to rent that to someone who wants to use that building for something that's against that church community's belief system," an Equality Ohio spokeswoman said, "Sure, I would say that if that space is open and generally available to the public for a fee, yes that should be available to everyone."
This statement may seem innocent enough, but to Representative Nino Vitale (R-Urbana), the author of HB-36, it is a declaration of war. "If you have property rights and religious freedom, shouldn't you have religious freedom, at least on your own property?" Vitale asked in an interview with PJ Media.
Specifically, Vitale suggested that the ACLU of Ohio, which he described as "a large cash cow organization that exists to sue people," and which opposed the Ohio Pastor Protection Act last year, would target churches if HB-36 does not pass. "That's what they aim to do," he explained.
The representative also noted that "some of the largest insurance companies that handle churches in the United States now have religious freedom riders, and you can select those and add them to your church policy." Potential lawsuits are "so big of an issue that even insurance companies recognize it."
Vitale predicted that groups like the Ohio ACLU and Equality Ohio (not to mention the Human Rights Campaign, the Secular Coalition, and the pro-abortion group NARAL, which have each opposed HB-36) would target the Catholic Church in particular.
"The Catholic Church is one of the main targets," the representative told PJ Media. "When you're filing a lawsuit against someone, you're saying we disagree with what you're doing and we want to stop you from doing it and penalize you for what you did," he explained. "I can't think of anybody with bigger pockets in the church communities than the Catholic Church."
Despite this likely attack, Vitale noted that it is "very rare" for the Catholic bishops in a state to unite in support of a particular piece of legislation. Nevertheless, the Catholic Conference of Ohio (the Ohio bishops in unison) testified in support of HB-36 this week.