Georgia Lawmakers Echo Arizona’s Anti-Gay Bill
A bill that would allow business owners to refuse services to LGBT customers is gaining traction in the Georgia Legislature, Mother Jones reports.
The bill, which mirrors an anti-gay Arizona bill that is making national headlines, is currently gaining support in the Georgia House of Representatives.
The proposal is called the Preservation of Religious Freedom Act and would allow any individual or for-profit company to discriminate against others if they feel their religious freedom is being violated. As Mother Jones points out, the proposed law would apparently override the state’s current anti-discrimination and civil rights laws -- for example, in Atlanta, laws prohibit discrimination against LGBT residents looking for housing, employment and public accommodations.
The bill was introduced last week and was heard in a subcommittee Monday. Six state representatives, some Democrats, sponsored the measure. Mother Jones reports a similar bill has been introduced in the state Senate.
LGBT rights activists have sharply criticized the bill, saying it would allow people to discriminate against the LGBT community, NBC’s Atlanta affiliate station 11Alive reports.
Those against the bill packed the committee hearing Monday to condemn the legislation. Nevertheless, its supporters voiced how the bill would protect religious freedom.
"My faith teaches me that everyone needs to be treated with dignity and respect, and this law does nothing to change that," said Rep. Sam Teasley (R-Marietta), author of the bill.
He added that the measure was based off a similar federal law and that people’s expression of religion needs to be protected.
Georgia Equality’s Jeff Graham also spoke at the committee hearing, slamming the measure.