We used to have a cat named Patches. He was a cantankerous fat cat, who thought he couldn’t be seen while sitting behind the living room window sheers. He would sit there, cloaked behind his thin veil of virtue, not moving, staring out into the room, just waiting to pounce on an imaginary foe.


What’s that got to do with marriage equality, you ask? Well, let me tell you about Ohio State Rep. Nino Vitale. Hailing from Urbana, Vitale represents Ohio House District #85, a very conservative district. He was first elected in 2014 and then re-elected in 2016, running un-opposed both times, his campaigns endorsed by anti-government and religious extremist groups, such as the CRLC – Conservative Republican Leadership Committee and the OCA - Ohio Christian Alliance[i].

Like Patches, Nino Vitale is a cantankerous fat cat, and he sits there in the Ohio House, cloaked behind a thin veil of virtue, not moving, staring out into the room, just waiting to pounce on an imaginary foe.


On February 7, 2017, Vitale imagined he’d spotted a foe and pounced on it by introducing Ohio HB36 into Ohio 132nd General Assembly legislation. This partisan bill is called the “Ohio Pastor Protection Act” and not only is it unnecessary and redundant; it is a thinly veiled attack on LGBTQ rights and marriage equality[ii]. (And it is the only bill that the lazy fat cat Vitale has ever sponsored!) His homophobic caterwauling attracted other extremist fat cats[iii] as proponents of HB36 and, howling in unison, they sought to rush the bill through the Community and Family Advancement Committee.

It still sits in committee; but that doesn’t mean proponents of the bill aren’t sharpening their claws to make another pounce on LGBTQ rights. In the Buckeye State, things such as marriage equality are like catnip to the feral Republicans. Once they get a whiff of regressive legislation that might diminish any make-believe dangers to their religious/authoritarian views they go nuts; frenziedly playing with the law, rather than letting a settled issue die.

When I first learned of this bill from the cool cats of the ACLU of Ohio, it got me upset and hissing angry! There are people I love who are in same-sex marriages, and I don’t appreciate the HB36 Clowder that wants to treat them as lesser human beings!

The only way to make use of this bill, in my opinion, is to use it as litterbox liner in the State House, since fat cats like Nino Vitale want to keep defecating on the rights of Ohio citizens.

OH, Ohio (Part 1)

OH, Ohio (Part 2)

OH, Ohio (Part 3)

OH, Ohio (Part 4)

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Pictured below are two married couples, who I love and cherish - my nephew Phil and his husband Jonathan, and my ‘son from another mother’ Eddie and his husband Davy.


 [i] The Ohio Christian Alliance broke away from the Christian Coalition of America for being “too soft” in 2006.

[ii] Access the ACLU petition to stop Ohio HB36, CLICK HERE and sign.

[iii] Chris Long, President of the Ohio Christian Alliance, and Robert J Muise, co-founder, of the American Freedom Law Center, are among the most extreme fat cats who submitted letters in support of HB36. 

Bonnie Bertelson

Bonnie Bertelson

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