Ohio Version of Arizona Right to Refuse Bill Withdrawn

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CLEVELAND-- The controversial right to refuse bill was shot down in Arizona this week.

The governor there said it wasn’t needed, and that seems to be the same argument critics are using in Ohio.

"We're not a just society when we treat people differently. We're either equal or we're not,” said Ian James, executive director from Freedom Ohio.

FOX 8 talked to him about a proposed Ohio law he said mirrors Arizona’s.

House Bill 376 would’ve expanded religious protections, if passed.

"It essentially allows people to state that they have a sincere religious belief for the reason that they don't wish to follow a law, a rule or an ordinance or a policy,” he said.

He said the language in the bill was too vague and allowed discrimination. Specifically, he said against the LGBT community.

Representative Bill Patmon (D) of Cleveland sponsored the legislation and said that was never the bill’s intention.

“Discrimination is one of the worst things. It’s something I abhor, given my experience,” he said. “I wanted to make sure that whatever we passed, passed the test of whether it was discriminatory or not. So, to end the confusion, we ended the bill.”

He said all he was trying to do was create a state version of the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

"We pulled the bill to make sure they don't have any confusion. That's important in public policy: that there be no confusion and you speak clear enough for people to understand that you're not in favor of discrimination and taking away someone's rights,” he said.

He said he has no plans of redrafting the bill any time soon. So for now, the laws will stay the same.


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