Controversy continues to surround Chillicothe anti-discrimination law

CHILLICOTHE, OH (WCMH) —  It was another heated meeting in Chillicothe Monday night. The city is considering writing a new nondiscrimination ordinance after dozens of people spoke out against it earlier this month.

It was standing room only for the public hearing that hundreds of people attended. There were passionate comments from people on both sides of the issue.

“All people have the right to live with equal protection,” said one resident who took the podium.

“If I preach in opposition to the LGBT community am I going to be charged?” said another.

The city is starting from scratch after tabling legislation that originally called for fines against anyone who discriminated based on sexuality or gender identity.

Randy Davies, President and CEO of the Chillicothe Ross Chamber of Commerce said the Chamber is not against the LGBTQ community.

“We will not (condone) discrimination in our community,” said Davies.

But, he said the law is bad for business.

“Absolutely it would hurt the business community. It was unconstitutional.  It was unfair. And, it would have hurt business either staying or coming to our community,” said Davies.

Chillicothe resident Sarah Wagner supports anti-discrimination legislation.

She said her family has been targeted for being non-traditional.

“My wife and I moved down to Chillicothe so I could care of two aging family members. Knew that it would be rough, we had no idea how rough,” said Wagner.

It was a long meeting with dozens of people taking the podium, but still no verdict on what a future Chillicothe could look like.

The city said it will take all of this public input into consideration before it puts pen to paper again. It said the purpose of the meeting was to obtain more public input before the committee drafts any language.

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