Yesterday Representative Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) and Represenative Tim Derickson (R-Oxford) introduced the Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act (ORFRA) to the Ohio House of Represenatives.
The Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act would help protect and individual First Amendment right to freely practice his or her religion by preventing substantially burdensome laws against the free practice of religion. Thus, individuals would not have to face expensive lawsuits, unless the court found that there was a compelling government interest. The law would also allow for students to pray or for religious symbols to be displayed in public schools.
“God gave us our rights, not the government, not the neighbor, but God. Government is here to protect those rights,” said Representative Patmon in an interview about the Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“My concern has been that without this in place here in the state that the number of religious challenges could indeed increase,” Representative Derickson said, hoping to protect people’s First Amendment rights.
While there will undoubtedly be pushback against the Act, Representatives Patmon and Derickson are prepared to face those challenges. There are also 45 fellow lawmakers who support the bill.
Catholics for Ohio supports the Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as well as many other faith groups such as: the Catholic Conference, the Ohio Council of Churches, Citizens for Community Values and a Jewish organization.