Dayton Human Relations Council

Dayton is Open for Everyone: Mayor Whaley Reacts to Religious Freedom Restoration Act trends

Release Date: Monday, March 30, 2015
Contact: Ariel Walker, Mayor Whaley’s Senior Policy Aide – 333.3646
Toni Bankston, City Public Affairs Manager – 333-3614

Dayton City Mayor Nan Whaley is disappointed that Indiana has joined a growing list
of States adopting Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. Indiana is one of 19 states
(National Conference of State Legislatures) with a version of the Religious Freedom
Restoration Act, or RFRA. These acts reflect a growing trend among states that would
allow businesses to refuse service to anyone for religious reasons.

“Dayton is a community that is open for everyone,” said Mayor Nan Whaley. “It is a
message that this Commission has clearly articulated through programs like nationally
recognized Welcome Dayton, the Human Rights Campaign’s All Star City designation,
and local legislation to support marriage equality. Today I am proud to be a Daytonian,
as we set ourselves apart from those states that protect only some citizens through
RFRA laws. Dayton is open to every business and every citizen.”

Ohio is bordered by Indiana, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania all of whom have adopted
Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. City officials want businesses and residents in
these states to know that the City of Dayton is committed to promoting diversity in its
neighborhoods, businesses, and progressive city culture.

“As City Manager, I am committed to growing our economic base,” said Warren Price.
“State legislation such as RFRA’s does little to promote growth in the region. Our city
remains focused on growing our core businesses in the areas of logistics and
distribution, health, IT, and manufacturing. We welcome the opportunity to serve any
business that seeks to locate here.”

The City of Dayton is prepared to oppose any state legislation that would by nature
give businesses the right to discriminate against anyone including LGBTQ Americans in
the State of Ohio. The City maintains that everyone is entitled to fair and equitable
treatment regardless of their religious views and belief.

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