COLUMBUS -- The Ohio House and Senate had hearings this week on resolutions urging an end to the flying of the Confederate flag on public property.
Neither of the symbolic gestures, sponsored by Democratic lawmakers in the two chambers, are expected to move during the waning days of the general assembly's lame duck session. But sponsoring members of the Ohio Senate and House did get an opportunity to voice their support and urge adoption and forwarding of the language to the governor and legislative leaders in the state of South Carolina and to Ohio news media.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 7 notes that the "rebel flag can still be seen on government property in at least nine states."
The flag, the resolution reads, "is a symbol of oppression and racial hatred rooted in the legacy of African-American enslavement" and "remains a symbol of racial oppression and violence, even after the emancipation of slaves, Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement."
SCR 7 also calls for "retailers throughout Ohio to remove rebel flag merchandise from their inventories."
Such resolutions are formal statements of lawmakers' positions on issues and do not change state law or institute requirements for businesses or agencies.
Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) told the Senate's Government Oversight and Reform Committee Wednesday that the rebel flag should have been removed from government-owned facilities across the country after the Civil War, in the same way that Nazi flags were in Germany following World War II.
"Adolf Hitler, under the banner of the Nazi flag, a symbol of bigotry, hatred and racism, murdered over 6 million Jews," Thomas said. "In addition, under this same flag, millions of lives were lost as a result of World War II, known as the deadliest conflict in human history. When the Nazis surrendered, the flag was removed permanently from all government facilities. Simply put, the loser's flag came down."
He added concerning the , "To those who say it is a heritage, I say you are entitled to your personal point of view. However, your personal point of view should not [be affixed] to property that I pay taxes to help maintain. In my humble opinion, there is no honor, respect or dignity or heritage in a representing bigotry, hatred and racism."
Sen. Bill Coley (R-West Chester), chairman of the committee considering the resolution, did not voice support for it during Wednesday's sponsor testimony.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.