People are angry with Georgia's new anti-LGBT bill that also protects the KKK. So far, one company has vowed to leave the state.
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You'd think Republicans would have learned their lesson after Indiana was on the receiving end of a huge backlash for trying to make it legal to discriminate against LGBT people. Well, they didn’t. In what appears to be a direct reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court granting equal marriage rights to same-sex couples, legislators across the country have been working overtime to find new ways to attack the LGBT community. Earlier this month, we reported that the state of Oklahoma broke a record by submitting at least 26 anti-LGBT bills! Now, Georgia is stepping up to the plate to hit a home run with their latest hate-filled legislation, and they are quickly seeing the consequences.
Georgia state senators on Friday passed a controversial bill that allows any individual or 'faith-based' business, non-profit entity, or taxpayer-funded organization to ignore any law that conflicts with their religious beliefs about marriage. Basically, it’s a license to discriminate against the LGBT community without legal repercussions. For those of you thinking this law is just about "protecting" anti-gay bakers from having to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples, think again.
Remember that doctor in Michigan who refused to treat a newborn last year because the baby had two moms? That could also be legal with this new bill. Georgia’s First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), or HB 757, would allow doctors to refuse treatment to patients if the doctor didn’t agree with that patient’s (or their family members) sexual orientation. It would allow foster and adoption agencies to deny qualified parents from adopting children, thus justifying using tax dollars to keep children homeless.
As if that weren't enough to make you cringe, GOP Sen. Greg Kirk (photo) acknowledged his bill would protect members of the KKK from their hate-filled actions, and he had no problem with that.
“Couldn’t that organization, if they chose to do so, identify themselves as ‘faith based’?” State Senator Emanuel Jones asked referring to the KKK, an organization with a history of calling itself faith-based.
“I’m not an attorney,” Kirk responded. “I guess they could, Senator. I’m not sure. I don’t know what would stop them.
“So there’s nothing in your legislation that would stop them, is that correct?” asked Jones.
“That’s right,” Kirk said.
“Does that present a problem for you, Senator?” Jones continued.
After a long pause, Kirk simply said, “No.”
Many people took to Twitter to express their outrage over the senate passing the discriminatory bill.
A few companies in Georgia, including Delta, Coca-Cola, and Home Depot, appealed the legislature to table the bill, insisting it will hurt their ability to attract employees and customers, but the Republican-dominated legislature didn’t seem to care. HB 757 passed the Georgia Senate on Friday with a vote of 38-14. The above companies have yet to make a statement since the bill’s passing, but one telecom company, 373K, has announced it is moving because of it.
"I'm gay, our CFO is gay, we have people from every walk of life working here," co-founder Kelvin Williams told The New Civil Rights Movement in a telephone interview Saturday afternoon. The company has decided to move to Nevada.
"I've got Muslims, Buddhists, atheists here," he added. "We've got great Christians working for us. They've never thought of not serving anyone – that's not the message of Christ."
Former GOP Senate Majority Leader Ronnie Chance also spoke out in an editorial in Saturday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"No one in Georgia wants to go through what Indiana experienced. It is a little-known fact that Georgia state law offers no nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community. In other words, this bill will take Georgia law from a “see-no-evil” approach to discrimination to tacit approval. That could prove devastating for our reputation as a great place to do business."
GOP Gov. Nathan Deal made a public comment on the legislation and explained that the measure is still evolving. He mentioned he was working with his top aides, House Speaker David Ralston, also a Republican, and other legislative leaders, but declined to discuss specifics about the possible changes.
“We’re working with the leadership of the General Assembly now as that bill is continuing to move through the process,” he said. “So we’ll see.” He also added, “I don’t comment until things are finalized, and, by far, it’s not finalized yet.”
Since the governor seems to have concerns about the bill, that's all the more reason to add pressure to companies and organizations to speak out. Daily Kos noted that the NCAA has been noticeably quiet about HB 757 and they are urging people to put pressure on the organization to stand up against the bill.
“The NCAA recently awarded their College Football Championship to Atlanta for January 2018. The NCAA’s nondiscrimination policy and threats of sanctions against the state of Indiana helped win the fight against Indiana’s RFRA last year. A similar threat to revoke the CFB championship would likely drive the GA legislature into a tizzy to kill this bill.”
Daily Kos is urging people to signal boost and tweet at NCAA’s press/media/legal contacts. We support that too. Feel free to use the following tweet:
Finally, here's Gov. Deal's contact information as well. Make sure you tell him that you don't agree with state sanctioned discrimination.
Image via the Georgia Senate