Toledo Humanists Condemn Override of HB 68 Veto

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toledo Humanists Condemn Override of HB 68 Veto

TOLEDO – The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie condemn the override of the veto of House Bill 68 that will now allow the ban on gender-affirming care and ban on Trans women in school sports to become law.

The majority ignored medical science and the pleas of the Trans community and dismissed their very existence. Several Senators during the vote claimed Trans kids don’t exist and that their God assigned the child’s gender at conception. Rep. Gary Click, in a statement on X called for resources for individuals who regret their transition “as they realign with their authentic selves.” We reject Rep. Click’s call as misguided and tinged with religious bigotry.

We don’t believe that laws and public policy should ignore scientific consensus or be irrationally supported by moral panic. It is clear to us that some legislators believe their religion is above basic human decency and compassion. Bullying children is not a good look.

It was also ironic in the same session the same people who voted to harm Trans kids overrode a veto on a budget item that prohibits local governments from enacting their own regulations on tobacco, particularly bans on the sale of flavored nicotine products, which are typically marketed toward minors.

The action by the Ohio Legislature to force HB 68 into law also denies the right of parents to support their child’s health care needs whatever that maybe.

We hope that the ban is challenged in court and ends up like other similar bans by being ruled unconstitutional.

We will do what we can to support the LGBTQI community during these unwarranted and indefensible attacks from the government.

Media contact: Douglas Berger, President

More information:

‘Cowardly, self-serving vote’: Ohio Senate overrides DeWine’s veto; bans healthcare for trans youth

Donating Cash to Food Banks

At our November meeting, it was mentioned that food banks could use cash donations in addition to the usual food donations. Cash donations can actually help more clients of the food bank than direct food donations.

We also acknowledge that the need for food banks last all year and not just for the holidays. SHoWLE will be arranging some volunteer time at a local food bank early in 2024.

This is just a list of the two main food banks in Lucas county.

Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank
Seagate Food Bank

New Membership Level Added

During our members meeting, I was asked about a Student rate for membership. I said at the time we didn’t have a formal student level but we would never turn away a potential member who couldn’t afford the current full membership dues.

Today I announce we now have a Student/Fixed Income membership level. On the Join page, scroll down for the link then when you get taken to the sign-up page one of the levels available at the bottom is for Students and those on fixed incomes.

People won’t need to ask for the special rate and will be able to select it when they sign up.

The change needs to be confirmed by the Board so assume that level has all the same benefits of the full price. If the lower amount is still too much we also accept volunteer time and donations in-kind (like sharing a skill or donating an item you aren’t using).

— Doug

President of SHoWLE

We Oppose HB 183: The Bathroom Ban For Trans People

President Douglas Berger submitted written testimony to the Ohio House Higher Education Committee that is considering House Bill 183 that would prohibit transgender kids and adults from using the public bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

Two people on the committee are from the NW Ohio area. Rep. Derek Merrin (R-42) and Rep. Josh Williams (R-41).

The hearing for opposition testimony is Wednesday October 11th. Here is the text of his testimony as submitted:


Chair Rep. Young, Vice Chair Rep. Manning, and Ranking Member Rep. Miller, my name is Douglas Berger and I am President of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie, based in Toledo.

I am writing today to express our group’s opposition to House Bill 183 that would prohibit transgender kids and adults from using the public bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

We oppose this discriminatory bill since it reminds us of the dark days of Jim Crow when bathrooms and even drinking fountains were segregated by race and this bill is based on the same kind of false narrative and flimsy evidence that those Jim Crow laws were based on.

We are also tired of members of this legislature passing off irrational religious bigotry as public policy and law. When will your need to impose your religion on others stop?

HB 183 has no factual basis and no data to justify a ban is needed. Most anecdotal stories are made up. The numbers of teachers and people of faith who have been arrested and charged for abusing children far out distance any reported crime due to Trans people using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. I am more fearful of a child being alone with a priest or minister than using a bathroom with a Trans person.

Representative Lear and Bird also failed to note which religious conservative lobby group they copied and pasted this ridiculous proposal from. There is a reason these proposals all look alike.

We can also promise that the people who introduced this bill and at least three members of this committee have never met a Trans kid and has never talked to the Trans community but they seem to want to discriminate against Trans people anyway. I’m sure it is easier to discriminate when you never talk to them.

Our members would also like to know who will enforce this ban and how will it be enforced. Will birth certificates be required to be shown or will a school official be designated as a genital checker? Will you have a parent sign a form so their child can have a genital check? If there is no enforcement mechanism then this proposal is just for show. In fact it would be used to out Trans kids and bully them.

Adding on an unfunded mandate on public schools and colleges that you barely help fund is also something to consider.

In a recent TV interview, a member of this committee said that educational policy should only go toward the academic progress of students and we shouldn’t be introducing social issues into the classroom. How does HB 183 advance academic progress? It doesn’t but it sure introduces social issues into the classroom. How will this bill improve the dismal school ranking the state has received recently.

Why don’t Trans kids deserve to be protected too?

We ask you to vote no on HB 183.

Please Take Our Survey

Each year we try to discover how our friends and members feel about SHoWLE. Please fill out the survey below. You can be anonymous but please be honest. It will be open until 10/1/2023. If you wish to tell us something not in the survey like you moved or something use our contact form for that or make sure you use your email address in the survey

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*Note* All responses and information shared in the survey will be for internal use only and not shared outside the Board of Directors except for general aggregate results.

SHoWLE Disappointed By 303 Creative Court Decision

Toledo, July 1, 2023 – The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie are very disappointed in the ruling on June 30 by the US Supreme Court in the 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis case. It is wrong that religious beliefs now trump all other rights to full public business accommodations and allow discrimination of people in a protected class.

The court said that requiring the graphic designer to make wedding websites for same-sex couples was an unconstitutional violation of her first amendment rights because the creation would be seen as an endorsement of something her religious beliefs prohibit.

We don’t believe requiring business owners not to discriminate against customers in protected classes makes the person or business endorse something against their religious beliefs. At the end of the day they can still not approve of same-sex marriages. If a business can’t bring itself to serve customers from the protected classes then they need not be a public business.

We are also concerned about the unprecedented protection the court granted to a religious person. They ruled on a case that didn’t include any actual harm. The plaintiff wasn’t creating wedding websites when she filed the lawsuit and there is some question that the LGBT customer written about in her case was made up. Secular people who claim their religious freedom was violated, like for example challenging 10 Commandment statues on court house lawns, are dismissed because the mere presence of the religious item or text isn’t an actual harm according to federal courts.

The plaintiff agreed in court that she would sell her services to LGBTQ people, just not wedding website designs. So her religious beliefs are not absolute. How does making a sign for a gay man not also seem to endorse his sexual orientation?

The decision was capricious and arbitrary and gave special rights to religious people that are not allowed by anyone else. The Christian Nationalists have been bent on subverting decades of church and state legal decisions.

The US Supreme Court set back religious freedom for many years.


For further information on this decision see: Supreme Court rules website designer can decline to create same-sex wedding websites

About Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie

The mission of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie is to provide a supportive local community for humanists and other nontheists, while promoting an ethical, reasonable, and secular approach to life through education, community service, outreach, activism, and social events.

We envision a Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan where secular people are respected and integrated in broader society, live values of reason and compassion, and enjoy a friendly humanist community.

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PDF of Statement Available Here