HB 82 – Discrimination Law Exemptions for Religious Employers (2013-2014)
Link to Bill:http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=130_HB_82
Update: Although this legislation technically failed, a version of HB 82, with amended language, was inserted into Ohio’s Budget Bill, HB 59, which was enacted in June 2013.
The ACLU of Ohio also opposed the amended version in HB 59.
HB 82 would exempt religious employers from Ohio’s prohibition on employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age, or ancestry.
Primary Sponsors:Rep. Blair (R), Rep. Hayes (R)
Secondary Sponsors:Rep. Becker (R), Rep. Boose (R), Rep. Buchy (R), Rep. Conditt (R), Rep. Derickson (R), Rep. Scherer (R), Rep. Terhar (R), Rep. Thompson (R), Rep. Wachtmann (R)
LSC Legislation Status:http://lsc.state.oh.us/coderev/hou130.nsf/House+Bill+Number/0082?OpenDocument
Our take on this bill:
HB 82 exempts religious employers from not just religious discrimination, but all prohibited categories of employment discrimination including race, sex, disability, age, military status, ancestry, or national origin. The ACLU of Ohio opposes HB 82 because it will lead to more discrimination in the workplace and diminish the rights of employees. Religious freedom should not come with a license to discriminate. Nationwide, people who have absolutely no religious duties or responsibilities have been fired from their jobs with religiously affiliated employers for reasons such as being gay or seeking in vitro fertilization. The Ohio General Assembly should be extending employment discrimination protections, such as those for sexual orientation or gender identity, not working to establish more exemptions.