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Rep. Lightbody: House Republicans vote to protect the Confederate flag

Says symbols of racism, white supremacy, and treason have no place in Ohio
June 12, 2020
Mary Lightbody News

COLUMBUS—While Ohioans were sleeping, House Democratic lawmakers were offering two amendments on the House floor late Thursday and early Friday that would have prohibited the sale, display, possession or distribution of Confederate memorabilia at county and independent fairs, following a similar rule instituted by the Ohio State Fair in 2015. The motions came during floor debate on House Bill 665, which made several other changes to laws on local and county fairs.

The U.S. MarinesU.S. Navy and NASCAR recently announced similar bans on Confederate memorabilia. Republicans rejected the amendments largely along party lines, voting instead to protect the sale of the Confederate flag. 

“When summer rolls around, our 4-H members and others start preparing for the fair. It is such an important for our young people to show off their skills in a wide variety of areas and I am happy that most county fairs this summer will have at least a youth fair opportunity to continue the traditions,” said Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville).

But for many, especially our black and brown neighbors, confronting the Confederate flag at the fair can be challenging. Everyone should feel safe and respected when they go to a county fair, and this flag can erode those feelings. The amendments that were offered attempted to make the fairs welcoming to all. It is time for us to acknowledge that this particular flag symbolizes white supremacy and work together to limit its presence in Ohio, which after all, was the state that sent the highest percentage of its residents to fight on the side of the Union in the Civil War. It is long past time to retire that symbol to our museums not our fairs. ”

The amendments come amid continued demonstrations in dozens of cities and towns across Ohio where protesters have called for an end to police brutality, white supremacy and racism in the United States following the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

A second Democratic amendment would have cut state funding to county and independent fairs who allow the sale of Confederate memorabilia. Republicans tabled that amendment as well.

House Bill 665 passed the House and now moves to the Senate for consideration.