As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments this month on lawsuits filed by same-sex couples in four Midwest states, the Republican Party in Ohio fearing a loss is trying to introduce legislation that would allow “licensed individuals” to legally deny marrying same sex or other couples on religious grounds.
Under Ohio law, marriages can be performed by state-licensed and ordained ministers of any religious society or congregation, probate or municipal court judges, mayors or members of “any religious society, in conformity with the rules and regulations of its church.”
Republican State Rep. Ron Maag this week began seeking co-sponsors for a bill that would grant “discretion” to licensed officiants on whether to perform marriages they say violate their religious beliefs.
“The intention of this bill is to preserve every person’s freedoms while still being respectful and cognizant of each individual’s equality,” Maag, of Lebanon, wrote in his request to fellow House members. (Respectful and cognizant to those except the same-sex couple of course)
“Seeing that a particular marriage may not conform to the religious beliefs of the licensed individual who would perform the marriage, the licensed individual’s rights to their religious freedom should be lawfully protected.”
On the subject of a full-blown Religious Freedom Bill. Ohio Gov. John Kasich told reporters Thursday that Ohio already strikes a “good balance” in preserving religious freedoms while avoiding discrimination and doesn’t need a religious freedom act, reports The Associated Press.