Remember RFRA? Anti-LGBT legislation that seeks to codify a License to Discriminate under the guise of “protecting” religious freedom?
Yesterday, a small group of lawmakers introduced SB 233, legislation that seeks to give people the right to claim religious exemptions and opt-out of following the law.
Despite a long and protracted debate on RFRA last year—which ultimately culminated in a veto by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal—a small group of lawmakers seem singularly preoccupied with advancing a License to Discriminate in Georgia, no matter the cost.
Georgia does NOT need a state RFRA. Why? Because religious freedom is not under threat. It is already strongly protected—as it should be—by both the Georgia and United States Constitutions.
In reality, SB 233 is no more than a thinly veiled attempt to make it easy and legal to discriminate simply by citing one’s “religious beliefs.”
Imagine the store owner or landlord who claims “religious beliefs” as an excuse to deny a gay couple service or housing. Imagine a transgender person who is denied employment because who they are somehow violates an employer’s “religious beliefs.”
SB 233 is a slippery slope that leaves LGBT Georgians more vulnerable to discrimination that we already are. And it opens our state to national scorn and corrosive economic boycotts just like we’ve seen in North Carolina.
Last year, Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a similar License to Discriminate bill because he knew: This is legislation in search of a problem that doesn’t exist; and it poses a serious threat to the lives of Georgia voters, and to the prosperity of the state writ large.
It’s time we remind lawmakers exactly what’s at stake.