Georgia Senate Committee Today To Vote On Bill Protecting Religion-Based Anti-Gay Discrimination


Republicans Will Try To Pass Sen. Greg Kirk's First Amendment Defense Act Of Georgia

The Georgia Senate Rules Committee Wednesday is expected to hold a hearing on GOP Senator Greg Kirk's SB 284, the "First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia." Ignoring the U.S. Supreme Court ruling and the Constitution, this legislation is designed to protect those who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds by making it legal for them to discriminate against LGBT people. But that's not all.

The bill is one of dozens of "religious freedom" or RFRA bills currently in state legislatures across the country. It would prohibit the State of Georgia from taking "any discriminatory action" against anyone for their "sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."

In other words, the bill allows discrimination against not only married same-sex couples, but against different-sex couples who are living together, perhaps even raising a family, but not legally married.

Like most other "religious freedom" bills being drafted over the past year or so, this legislation defines "person" as "any individual, corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, association, public or private organization of any character, or other legal entity."

So, your neighborhood restaurant, dry cleaners, gas station, corner grocer, or even insurance agent – and, of course, florist, baker, and photographer – would be welcome to refuse service to anyone they even think might be in a same-sex or unmarried relationship, without fear of government or legal consequences.

As NCRM reported last month one legal expert, Anthony Kreis, weighed in on the bill, calling it "RFRA on steroids." 

Noting that this is just one of at least eight bills directed against the LGBT community, the AP reports the legislation allows "religious adoption agencies, schools, government workers and others to refuse services to same-sex couples without being penalized."

Last week the Georgia GOP-led Senate fast-tracked the bill, announced the hearing less than an hour before it began, and limited discussion. 

The bill was originally scheduled for 11:30 AM EST but it has yet to be heard, and is still expected to be taken up later today. 

Stay tuned to NCRM – we'll bring you any updates as soon as they happen.




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