Central Ohio city shelves proposed anti-discrimination law

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (AP) — A central Ohio city has shelved an anti-discrimination proposal that would have levied fines against people who discriminate in housing, business and other situations based on sexuality or gender identity.

About 200 people gathered Wednesday night for a meeting on the proposed ordinance.

A city council committee withdrew the plan and said they will restart the process. They hope to take up an updated proposal in a few weeks.

Supporters say the city has a problem with discrimination.

Sarah Wagner said she’s a lesbian who’s raising four children with her wife. She said she’s personally experienced discrimination.

“We have been subjected to homophobic slurs and spit on, been asked to not hold hands at local restaurants or asked to leave entirely,” she said. “We’ve had to stand in line at the grocery store with our children while a woman at the next counter made loud remarks about ‘those people’ being an abomination.”

Wagner said one of her children was also assaulted because a boy wanted her to prove she wasn’t a lesbian.

The Chillicothe Gazette reported former municipal court judge Jhan Corzine said the proposal has several flaws, but that some protection is necessary because there are currently no sexual orientation- or gender identity-based legal protections.

Former council member and real-estate broker Diane Carnes said the proposal aims to fix a problem that doesn’t exist in the city, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

“I have never needed a law to treat people fairly,” Carnes said. “This kind of legislation will create anger and division.”

Most attendees cheered for speakers who opposed the ordinance.

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