March 5, 2015 at 4:16 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Georgia Senate passes religious discrimination bill

Georgia State Capitol, gay news, Washington Blade

The Georgia Senate has passed a religious discrimination bill. (Photo by connor.carey; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The Georgia Senate approved legislation on Thursday that critics say is thinly veiled attempt at enabling discrimination against LGBT people in the state.

After nearly 90 minutes of debate, the Republican-controlled chamber approved by 37-15 vote SB 129, a Religious Freedom Restoration Act that would prohibit the government from burdening a person’s exercise of religion.

It’s seen as a way to enable individuals and business to refuse services for LGBT people, or for clerk officials to refuse marriage licenses for same-sex couples in the event marriage equality comes to Georgia.

The bill was engrossed before debate began by a 38-17 vote, which meant lawmakers who would have sought to amend legislation, including with measures to mitigate its impact, were unable to propose anything.

The House has yet to take action on the bill, or HB 218, the House companion to the legislation. Once the chamber passes an identical version of the bill, it’ll head to the desk of Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

7 Comments
  • This should prove to you that even if we achieve Marriage Equality in all 50 states after June they will still look for ways to get around it. Roe V Wade was decided by the Court over 40 years ago and Christian conservatives still try and undermine it or reverse it.

    If you look at the fallout following Brown V. Board of Education, you'll also see that Southern states didn't want to accept the ruling and said it violated the US Constitution. When sodomy laws were struck down several states refused to expunge them from their state laws.

    The struggle really never ends. People are still fighting race discrimination after all. Don't expect just because you maybe able to legally marry anywhere that you won't face discrimination or that there will be any rush to change laws to accommodate it. Spite and hatred will likely be what you'll face.

    Hopefully these laws can be challenged under the Romer V Evans ruling. But unfortunately that just involves more lawsuits and court challenges to achieve justice!

  • Meanwhile the queens are likely too busy getting high, dancing and trying to get laid to fight for their rights or give a damn. Keep assuming being gay doesn't matter anymore in America and see where it gets you in the long run.

  • Share your stories about Discrimination from businesses here in Columbus Georgia. Let's Put an end to Shopping and Dining at Businesses who Allow Discrimination. Say No Say "NO" to Businesses Who Discriminate. Stand Up and Make Sure We Stand Against All those who would turn you away at the door because you are gay or a different religion. We Can Fight Back against the Religious Freedom Act Bill that allows open discrimination from businesses that was created by Senator Josh McKoon. Send us your letters and we will open the public eye to who does indeed serve all and where our money is welcome.

    Join the Colgay PRIDE of Columbus Georgia Fan Page and Become a Fan Today of Say "NO" to Businesses who Discriminate.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Say-NO-to-Businesses-Who-Discriminate/1547338612187667

  • Share your stories about Discrimination from businesses here in Columbus Georgia. Let's Put an end to Shopping and Dining at Businesses who Allow Discrimination. Say No Say "NO" to Businesses Who Discriminate. Stand Up and Make Sure We Stand Against All those who would turn you away at the door because you are gay or a different religion. We Can Fight Back against the Religious Freedom Act Bill that allows open discrimination from businesses that was created by Senator Josh McKoon. Send us your letters and we will open the public eye to who does indeed serve all and where our money is welcome.

    Join the Colgay PRIDE of Columbus Georgia Fan Page and Become a Fan Today of Say "NO" to Businesses who Discriminate.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Say-NO-to-Businesses-Who-Discriminate/1547338612187667

  • They will change their tune when the film industry they worked so hard to recruit begins to boycott them. Do they really think that production teams will want to spend time in their state, when they are making it clear that they don't want the "gays"? I know first hand you will be hard pressed to find productions that do not have any LGBT staff. I doubt that either the LGBT staff or their supporters will be willing to expose themselves or their colleagues to such bigoted and backwards ideals.

  • I totally agree, but what do you expect from backwards, "religious" wannabe's!
    I have never before seen as much discrimination as there is in Georgia!

  • Dude, i am Gay, but i am really disturbed about how your organization, and others have "raised so much "stink"" that you have done more harm to our cause, than helped it!
    Just like the book, "King and King" that was given to 2nd graders! I agree on one front, that it helps younger people understand us, and my help those that "know" they are gay, but, again, it angers parents thinking we are pushing things upon their children! Most people, especially the "religious radicals", can't accept that we are created by GOD, just as they, and we are born gay!
    Actually i am even sick of the word "gay"! It is just a "label", and doesn't "describe" us!
    We are humans, people, that Love immensely, sometimes way more than, (another label) straight people!

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