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

Why We Need Fair Housing

Meeting notice about the guest being from the Fair Housing Center

February 10 @ 11:30 am 1:30 pm

Fair housing ensures that more people have access to quality schools, good jobs, and other key services that help them realize their potential and strengthen our community. By promoting diversity, fair housing also enhances the fabric of our neighborhoods.

Meeting notice about the guest being from the Fair Housing Center

That is why The Fair Housing Center was founded in 1975: to help unlock the doors of opportunity for our community. The Center is a national leader in efforts to eliminate housing discrimination and enforce fair housing laws. Its work helps ensure that every person has access to safe and affordable housing regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status, disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, source of income, or immigration status.

The Fair Housing Center will be a leading visible force in preventing, correcting, and eliminating discriminatory housing practices. To achieve our vision, the Center works as a trusted community resource, engaging in education and outreach, advocacy for anti-discriminatory housing policies, mediation, research and investigation, and enforcement actions.

Our speakers will be Christina Rodriguez, Esq. & Logyn Taylor-Thompson from the Toledo Fair Housing Center


Heatherdowns Branch Library

3265 Glanzman Rd
Toledo, Ohio 43614 United States
+ Google Map

We Need More Atheists with Kate Cohen

Image showing Kate Cohen and cover of her book

January 13 @ 11:30 am 1:30 pm

Kate Cohen, a columnist for The Washington Post and author of We of Little Faith: Why I Stopped Pretending to Believe (and Maybe You Should Too) that was published in October will join us LIVE via Zoom to talk about her atheism, her family, the book, and why the world needs more atheists.

Image showing Kate Cohen and cover of her book

She writes about the intersection of culture, family, and politics. Her columns have led to interviews on NBC Nightly News, Freethought Radio, and the BBC World Service. Kate’s essays have appeared on Northeast Public Radio and in Slate, Salon, BuzzFeed, Bustle, Vox, and Fine Cooking. She wrote the voiceover script for the Emmy-Award-winning documentary Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero, and is the author of two previous books, The Neppi-Modona Diaries and A Walk Down the Aisle. She lives on a farm in Albany, New York.

We will be in Community Room A and there will be an opportunity to join us on Zoom. Check out this page a day or two before the event for a Zoom room link.

The link to the book is through Amazon but it should be available through your local library and favorite book stores.

*10 AM 1/13 Update* The in-person part of our meeting this morning is cancelled. This was not an easy decision but the wind and wind-chill was too much to ask people to go outside to come to the library. Since the speaker is visiting via Zoom I hope you will join us there at 11:30 am the link is available on this page.

Unless otherwise noted, our meetings and events are free and open to the public. In-person, in-door meetings and events we STRONGLY recommend attendees wear masks. Speakers can wear them if they choose while speaking. Click more information about our In-person Meeting Policy. SHoWLE has a No Weapons policy


Heatherdowns Branch Library

3265 Glanzman Rd
Toledo, Ohio 43614 United States
+ Google Map

Here is the Zoom room link:

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

Humanism is a Verb

Using Humanism to serve the community

November 11, 2023 @ 11:30 am 1:00 pm

We will be watching a recorded panel discussion from the 2023 American Humanist Association conference about going beyond rejection of the supernatural. GO Humanity Executive Director Tif Ho talks with Aiden Barnes from Southeastern Virginia Atheists, Skeptics, & Humanists, Devon Graham from Humanists of Tallahassee, and Evan Clark from Atheists United about secular service.

We will be discussing the points made and how we can turn Humanism into a verb here in Toledo.

This meeting is FREE and Open to the public


Heatherdowns Branch Library

3265 Glanzman Rd
Toledo, Ohio 43614 United States
+ Google Map

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.

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.


PDF of Statement Available Here

Recovering Democracy: Ranked Choice Voting

June 17, 2023 @ 1:00 pm 3:00 pm

Rank the Vote Ohio is a nonpartisan grassroots group working to bring ranked choice voting to Ohio. Josephine Schreiber, Regional Organizer for Northwest Ohio, will join us to tell us all we need to know about RCV and the efforts of RTVOhio to make the change. Recently a Northwest Ohio Chapter of RTVOhio started up.

Ranked Choice Voting is already successful in other states and can give Ohioans a stronger voice when we cast our ballots and ensure that our elected leaders have majority support.

This commonsense change is an important step to empower voters in Ohio at this critical time.

This will be our last regular meeting until September.

Due to a positive COVID test, this meeting is being moved to Zoom. Link should be below

This meeting is FREE and Open to the public