Passing a comprehensive, statewide civil rights law is a bipartisan issue that Georgia must confront without delay, according to Joe Whitley, a conservative attorney who served as the Acting United States Associate Attorney General in the Bush Administration.
In an op-ed penned for the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Whitley makes an informed plea for passing such a law in Georgia, which has some of the weakest civil rights protections of any state in the nation.
According to Whitley, passing a law that protects Georgians from discrimination based on their race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity would not only help keep Georgians safe, it makes good economic sense:
“The gap in Georgia laws does not reflect our values. Further, it does not align with the many other steps Georgia has taken in recent years to ensure our economy stays as strong and innovative as possible. …
… nondiscrimination measures in the public space are really just about treating others the way we ourselves want to be treated. ” –Joe Whitley, writing in the Atlanta Business Chronicle
Whitley cites the economic devastation that ensued after North Carolina passed the discriminatory House Bill 2 last year, as well as the overwhelming public outcry over Georgia’s own License to Discriminate, House Bill 757. He also lauds this year’s efforts to update Georgia’s laws, House Resolution 404, House Bill 488 and Senate Bill 119.
Whitley is also a contributor to a recent report released by Georgia Unites Against Discrimination, Liberty & Justice in Georgia: Protecting Our Heritage & Growing Our Competitive Future. Whitley writes in the report that the “The average Georgian [is] significantly more susceptible to discrimination than the average U.S. citizen.”
That’s because Georgia is one of only a handful of states that have no laws barring employers and places of public accommodation from discriminating on the basis of race or religion. And because there are no state or federal civil rights protections for LGBT people, gay and transgender Georgians can be fired, evicted and denied service in public places like parks, malls and restaurants because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Support keeps growing for these critical updates to our laws. If you’re one of the thousands of Georgians who support protecting all Georgians from discrimination, click here to sign our pledge.SHARE THIS STORY