This is Pastor Tim’s article which appeared in the Evening Leader on Tuesday, Jan 9, 2024
Let’s talk about House Bill 68. This bill landed on Governor Mike DeWine’s desk about a month or so ago after being passed resoundingly by both the Ohio House and Senate. I went and looked up a copy of the bill because I wanted to read it myself. No spin, just my reading of it. Once you get past all the legalese and word definitions and read the bill, it essentially does 2 things.
First, it prohibits courts from considering a child’s gender identity in custody disputes. Essentially, if a child experiences gender confusion and one parent acknowledges this while the other does not, this cannot influence custody or visitation rights. Second, HB 68 prohibits any form of gender reassignment, including puberty-blocking drugs and genital reassignment surgeries. Additionally, the use of Medicaid for such procedures or care is banned.
However, exceptions are made for gender-related medical conditions. The primary rationale behind this legislation is to prevent physically healthy children from undergoing irreversible procedures during their youth. Notably, individuals already undergoing gender reassignment treatments will be allowed to continue.
I firmly support the passage of this bill. While various arguments advocate for gender reassignment surgery, one claim stands out: that without these surgeries, affected children may resort to suicide. In response to this, consider two points:
Firstly, while gender reassignment surgeries have become more accessible in recent times, historical records do not indicate mass suicides among young people due to this reason. If such a drastic outcome were inevitable, evidence from earlier times should reflect this trend.
Secondly, can the threat of suicide justify a community’s endorsement of a particular action? Suicide is the most painful thing to have to endure for the families who survive. Having walked with many families of suicide victims through the years I can tell you there is a special kind of pain it causes that is gut wrenching and every effort should be made to help people get the help they need to prevent this from happening. No one believes that more than I do. The primary concern should be providing necessary assistance to prevent such tragedies. Based on data from the National Library of Medicine, suicide rates among those undergoing gender affirmation surgeries versus those who do not are inconclusive. This suggests that other factors beyond gender identity play significant roles in these individuals’ lives, indicating that surgery may address a symptom rather than the underlying issue.
So why am I telling you all of this? Because despite HB 68 reaching Governor DeWine’s desk, he vetoed it on the last day before the Ohio House and Senate adjourned for the year. Given the strong support in both legislative bodies, I anticipate that DeWine’s veto will be overridden in the next session. Nevertheless, my conclusion is, not only will I never vote for Mike DeWine again, but I also regret the two times I already did.