Pastor Protection Act is redundant and unfair

Pastor Protection Act is redundant and unfair

Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly have introduced legislation aimed at protecting the rights of marriage officiants and religious societies. House Bill 36, known as the Pastor Protection Act, allows ordained and licensed ministers and religious groups, to refuse their services and facilities for marriage ceremonies that do not conform to their religious beliefs.

Additionally, it protects ordained ministers and religious groups from potential civil or criminal liability and defends them against punishment by state or local subdivisions.

The reality is that this bill is redundant. Just as Catholic priests are not required to perform marriages for non-Catholic couples, the First Amendment already protects religious freedom, allowing ministers to refuse to perform marriages that do not conform to their religious beliefs.

The real problem with this bill is its significant consequences. Not only is the definition of a religious society broad, among those licensed to perform marriages are our county, municipal, and probate judges as well as mayors. This bill exposes our LGBTQ community to further discrimination, of which they already experience in all aspects of life, including in employment and housing.

It is important that we maintain the divisions of church and state and not the divisions that relegate same-sex couples to second-class citizens. The Pastor Protection Act is wrong for Ohio. Contact your legislators and urge them to defend our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and questioning community.

Brian Pearson, Youngstown

Editorial that piled on Trump was ill-timed

Egg on your face: The Vindicator’s “Our Voice” editorial of March 23 piled on President Donald Trump for tweeting that former President Barack Obama had Trump’s headquarters bugged and that an apology was in order. That editorial was certainly ill-timed. This is not going away.

Tom Page, Boardman

Merge Poland, Canfield and Boardman schools

I completely agree with Editor Todd Franko’s merging theory expressed in his recent Sunday column. We have way too many school districts and police departments, fire departments and more.

Consolidating would actually give everyone better service due to the saving of funds. More money could be better spent.

I have said for years there should be one district for Route 224 combining Poland, Boardman and Canfield schools.

Ken Seeds, Boardman

US must look closely at allowing outsiders in

Imagine you are sitting in your living room one evening. There is a knock at the door. You are not expecting anyone. What do you do? Do you blindly open the door and immediately let whoever is knocking into your home? Or do you look out a window or a peephole, determine who is there and what is their intent?

I would guess the vast majority of us would do the latter. Isn’t that what President Donald Trump is doing on a national/international basis? They are knocking at our door and want access to our country. Shouldn’t we try to figure out who is knocking, and what is their intent? Makes sense to me.

And as to the illegal alien/immigrant issue: The key word here is illegal. That person knowingly and willingly broke our laws, which is by definition a criminal act. Why shouldn’t they be treated as a criminal? Don’t cry about them wanting to better their life; it’s still illegal.

I want a better car. OK if I steal one? I want a better house. OK if I kill someone and take theirs?

The law is the law. Period!

Matthew J. Leson, Youngstown

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