A person whose exercise of religion has been burdened or is likely to be burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the state or a political subdivision of the state is a party to the proceeding. The person asserting that claim or defense may obtain appropriate relief, including relief against the state or a political subdivision of the state. Appropriate relief includes, but is not limited to, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, compensatory damages, and the recovery of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
I copied that bit of wisdom from the ‘Ohio House Bill 376’ weblink. It is similar to a Bill in the Arizona legislature. Hmmm, legislation that is remarkably alike, arising spontaneously from independent State legislators? Can you spell A.L.E.C. Whether or not you can tell me what the initials mean or even whether or not you can spell it, the ‘spontaneous advent’ of such similar laws is a part of a concerted effort of right-wing types to restrict real liberty in our country. A.L.E.C. holds events at which corporate representatives and legislators work together to fashion ‘model legislation’ to be taken back to States for enactment. One does not have to be a scholar of jurisprudence to recognize that such legislation is designed to favor corporations and right-wing positions. Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ is among such legislation that is now ‘the law.’
The Ohio Bill being considered protects any person from any other State law if such a law, in the view of the person so ‘burdened,’ interferes with the person’s religious freedom. So, if you are an apartment owner whose religion says that your god prohibits the mixing of races, you can refuse to rent to a bi-racial couple and that couple will have no legal recourse against your discrimination. If your god prohibits the consumption of shellfish, you can, with impunity, deny employment to anyone who on their job application indicate that they love shrimp cocktail or crayfish gumbo.
These are the sponsors of House Bill 376: Derickson, Patmon, Henne, Smith, Hottinger, Grossman, Lynch, Amstutz, Hood, Huffman, Boose, McClain, Becker, Hayes, Burkley, Retherford, Young, Beck, Sears, Romanchuk, Barnes, Johnson, Stautberg, Sprague, Conditt, Hall, Scherer, Mallory, Adams, J., Brenner, Terhar, Buchy, Adams, R., Maag, Ruhl, Blessing, Green, Rosenberger, Thompson, Milkovich, Roegner, Hagan, C., Wachtmann, Hill, Blair.
If you love shrimp cocktail or Cajun gumbo, let your Representative know that making religious bigotry the Law of Ohio is not your idea of freedom or culinary enjoyment. And while you are in contact with your Representative, insist that any legislator who has wasted time on this Bill is not really working and should therefore refund his/her salary just as teachers should not be paid for ‘snow days.’