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Meet the lone Republican who voted against two Ohio House bills affecting transgender kids

Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) introduces bill to legalize pot.
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) introduces bill to legalize pot.

Two bills opposed by LGBTQ advocates and Democrats passed the Ohio House earlier this week with only votes from the Republican majority. One bill — HB 68 — limited the health care LGBTQ kids can get, and another — HB 6— banned trans athletes from participating on women's sports teams. But there was one Republican member who voted against both of those bills.

Republican Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) said after talking with people who were affected by them, he determined the legislation violated his political beliefs.

"I am a Republican because I believe in empowering individuals and I believe in limiting government," Callender said. "And both of these bills appear to me to do the opposite and put more restrictions on individuals and take away rights."

Callender said he also wasn't comfortable with them because they singled out people who are different than him.

"And I feel very comfortable supporting folks who are different than me in their challenges. I think anything else is a little bit mean-spirited quite frankly, and I am not going to participate in bullying or mean-spirited commentary about folks who are different than me. That's what I believe America is and it is not who I am," he said.

Callender didn't retreat from his position when asked whether he feared a primary on the right of him because of his votes.

“Publicly and privately, my conscience can live with those votes. I believe it was the right votes and I certainly would do it again. I’d rather do the right thing and lose an election than do the wrong thing just to get reelected.”

The fate of those bills is now in the hands of the Ohio Senate, but that chamber isn't expected to take them up before this fall.

Contact Jo Ingles at
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