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‘Religious freedom’ bill targeting gays pulled in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio – State lawmakers in Ohio are withdrawing legislation that mirrors an Arizona “religious freedom” bill that has come under fire for protecting those who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays.

Republican state Rep. Tim Derickson and Democratic state Rep. Bill Patmon issued a joint statement Wednesday citing concern over the bill’s unintended consequences.

The two said the bill they introduced in December was intended to protect the ability of Ohioans to freely worship and exercise their religious beliefs, not to promote discrimination.

FreedomOhio, the committee behind a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize same-sex marriage in the state, praised the move.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is facing pressure from gay-rights supporters, business groups and some fellow Republicans to veto similar legislation there.

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