Ohio leaders aim to capitalize on criticism of Indiana religious freedom law

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Similar legislation was introduced in the Ohio House last year, but lawmakers withdrew the proposal, citing concern over the bill’s unintended consequences.

Whaley said city staff will work to identify Indiana companies that fit Dayton’s industrial and workforce strengths and that might be prepared to move.

“It’s an opportunity for us to say, ‘Here is a welcoming community 45 minutes from your state line,” she said.

Other Ohio cities are also promoting their gay-friendly reputations. Cleveland hopes to build its reputation as a gay-friendly city after hosting the 2014 Gay Games in August, while Columbus officials have long touted Ohio’s capital city as a welcoming place for the LGBT community.

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Columbus and a number of other Ohio cities also have ordinances that prohibit sexual-orientation discrimination, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Canton Mayor William Healy said diversity is helping his city grow.

“If there’s any companies out there looking for a great place to be welcomed, call me,” he said Wednesday. “I’ll take care of you.”

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