Georgia Republican Lawmaker Unconcerned With Unintended Consequences Because Bill 'Isn't Directed Toward' Hate Groups
Georgia Senate Republicans today passed a likely unconstitutional "religious freedom" bill designed to offer special protections to people who oppose same-sex marriage and LGBT people. The Georgia First Amendment Defense Act, or FADA, as it's known, was sponsored by GOP Sen. Greg Kirk, who is wholly unconcerned with the perhaps unintended consequences his legislation would have.
Kirk Friday afternoon defended the bill by saying that he has no problem with the fact that it would protect hate groups like the KKK.
Democratic State Senator Emanuel Jones, who happens to be African-American, on the floor of the Georgia Senate questioned Sen. Kirk about his legislation.
"We're all familiar with the terms KKK, meaning the hate organization Ku Klux Klan," Jones asked.Â
"I've read about them, yes," a cautious Kirk responded.
"Some of my heritage have done a lot more than just read about them," Jones offered. "My concern is, couldn't that organization if they chose to do so identify themselves as 'faith based'?," Jones asked. In fact, the KKK is faith-based.
Hemming and hawing, saying he's "not an attorney," Kirk conceded, "I guess they could, Senator. I'm not sure."
"So there's nothing in your legislation that would stop them, is that correct?"
"That's right," Kirk said.Â
"Does that present a problem for you, Senator?," Jones continued.
After a significant pause, Kirk repeated the question, finally admitting, "No."
"I've read about those groups," the Georgia Republican repeated, but insisted, his bill "certainly isn't directed towards them, it's directed towards churches, towards ministers, and towards organizations that provide adoptions and organizations that provide help to the homeless, and so forth. It's for equal protection as well," Kirk claimed, not actually understanding the concept.
Stunningly, Kirk went on to say that he watched the Super Bowl and saw a tribute to the Black Panthers. "I guess that'd be kind of a similar group that we're talking about, and I guess they could fall under this as well."
Watch the exchange, via Georgia Equality: