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Ohio ACLU Defends Columbus School Employee Who Called for Gay People to be 'Killed or Relocated'

LGBTQ pride flag

The ACLU of Ohio is defending a Columbus City School employee who posted hateful comments against LGBTQ people and the city’s Pride Festival.

Chris Dodds works for the Columbus City school district’s garage. A post from his account used a slur to describe gay people and said they should be “killed or at least relocated.”

Elizabeth Burnham with the ACLU of Ohio says the comments are vile and hateful but says Dodds should not lose his job because even those comments are protected free speech.

“What we shouldn’t do is give a power that we own over to the state and say, 'You can censor people that we don’t like now.' What we’ll see inevitably, time and again, is that later on, that power that we’ve given away to the state is going to come back and be used against the most vulnerable people,” she said.

Burnham believes hateful speech has been on the rise. She argues that the answer is not to suppress it but to combat it with more, educational speech.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.