An anti-LGBT "religious freedom" bill similar to the one signed into law in Indiana yesterday is currently working its way through the Georgia Legislature, but activists are hoping to stop this one before it gets to the governor's desk.
Georgia's SB 129 allowing businesses to deny service to gay and lesbian customers based on religious beliefs passed the Georgia Senate last week. Yesterday, some good news came when the state's House Judiciary Committee voted to table the bill after an amendment was added to keep the bill from allowing discrimination – effectively gutting the bill's primary purpose.
Session ends next week, but anti-LGBT opponents are reportedly still working to bring the bill back. You can follow the bill's progress here.
Via HRC statement:
"This ill-conceived, discriminatory bill threatens not just the LGBT community, but women, racial minorities, members of minority faiths, and the economic climate of the state," said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. "All Georgians deserve to be treated fairly and equally with dignity and respect. We call on Speaker Ralston and Governor Deal to stop this bill before it becomes law, inflicting harm throughout the state."
Major local conferences have already threatened to move out of the state if the bill becomes law, including: American Society for Higher Education, American Academy of Religion, American Historical Association, German Studies Association, History of Science Society, Philosophy of Science Association, Society for Biblical Literature, and Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts.
State Sen. Josh McKoon (pictured), the chief proponent of the "license to discriminate" bill, called these economic warnings against the bill "nebulous" and claimed the bill wouldn't impact the economic interests of the state. He obviously hasn't been paying attention to the #BoycottIndiana backlash.
In fact, a campaign calling on Georgia-based corporate allies to speak out against #SB129 is currently underway. Comic and fantasy convention Dragon Con has already done so:
Dragon Con is calling on Georgia lawmakers to reject the "license to discriminate" RFRA bill! Click "like" and share to…
The Augusta Chronicle's editorial staff, meanwhile, called SB 129 "a solution we don't need in search of a problem that doesn't exist."
The push by Georgia Republicans to further enshrine anti-LGBT discrimination into law has also faced opposition from an unlikely source recently: Mike Bowers. Bowers was the former Georgia Attorney General who defended the state's sodomy law in the landmark Supreme Court case Bowers v. Hardwick. Last month, he spoke out against so-called "religious freedom" bills as an "excuse to practice invidious discrimination."
Watch McKoon defend discrimination at yesterday's House Judiciary Committee hearing, AFTER THE JUMP…