COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Citing confusion with an Arizona bill with a similar name, backers of Ohio's Religious Freedom Restoration Act have decided to withdraw the legislation.
"We started out with a bill to protect people who wanted to wear their yamaka or their cross or have the Bible on their desk and not be persecuted, fired, or punished for it," said Rep. Bill Patmon, a Cleveland Democrat.
The gay rights group FreedomOhio raised concerns about the bill.
"Our state already has an unconstitutional marriage ban in place, depriving loving same-sex couple of the right to be legally married - the last thing we need is to further marginalize and attack LGBT Ohioans," said FreedomOhio co-founder and executive director Ian James.
Patmon says the bill had nothing to do with gay rights and was concerned that all the confusion was painting it in the same light at Arizona's which was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer. The Arizona bill would restrict the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws if they interfered with religious freedom.
A federal law is already on the books to protect people from being punished for practicing their religion at work, so long as it doesn't interfere with their job.
"Our intent was to have the same thing at the state level because the federal law was deemed to not have an effect in a state," he said.
Patmon joined Oxford Republican State Rep. Tim Derickson in sponsoring the bill which also had support from several religious groups.
"Never would I be involved with any discriminatory bill or law of any kind. I've spent my career fighting discrimination," Patmon said.
He says that the Ohio bill would not allow any person or business to discriminate against someone based on their religion.
"We again stand on the side of people of faith, but never on the side of discrimination," he said.
He didn't indicated when the bill might be reintroduced or if they'll use a different title.