Next Tuesday, January 21 is the fourth anniversary of the United States Supreme Court Citizens United vs. FEC decision, a key decision in the expansion of personhood rights for corporations. Coordinated by Move to Amend of Central Ohio, a number of local groups will hold a gathering to rally public support in opposition to this decision. The rally is scheduled from 11am until 2pm. The activities will start at the ProgressOhio offices at 172 E. State St. near N. 4th St. at 11:00am in downtown Columbus with socializing and networking followed by a feed to hear national MTA spokesperson, David Cobb at 11:30. After the online conversation with Cobb, at around noon, attendees will march to the West side of the Ohio Statehouse on High Street near the McKinley statue to be addressed by local speakers supporting the opposition to Citizens United. Prominent among the speakers are Pat Marida of Sierra Club addressing environmental effects of corporate personhood and Jon Beard of the Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government. The Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government is undertaking several activities, including two ballot initiatives, one to oppose local corporate welfare and the second proposing reform to make City campaign financing more democratic. After the rally at the Statehouse, participants are invited to return to ProgressOhio offices for warm drinks, snacks and a showing of the brief half-hour documentary “Legalize Democracy” made by the national Move to Amend organization late last year. As time has passed subsequent to the original Citizens United decision in 2010, personal rights of corporations threaten to expand beyond freedom of speech rights into those of actual religious rights and freedom with potentially grave consequences. The US Supreme Court as of December 1, has agreed to hear the Hobby Lobby case. Hobby Lobby Corporation maintains that corporations also have constitutional First Amendment (separation of church and state) religious rights and protections. The basis for religious personhood is Hobby Lobby’s opposition to Affordable Care Act mandates to fund contraception in employee health insurance. For the purpose of the fight against corporate personhood, MTA opposes this expansion. To get a full grasp of the meaning of this beyond contraception and birth control, imagine if a major corporation with a large workforce converted to Christian Science. Could it be argued then that their ACA health insurance only had to cover faith healers? This issue shows the depth and range of Move To Amend issues in America today. Readers of the Free Press and all concerned citizens are invited to participate and attend. Please join us at 11 AM January 21 at the offices of ProgressOhio for this important event.

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