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By ZACK FORD
With dozens of anti-LGBT bills popping up in state legislatures across the country, there are at least a few attempts underway to actually create protections for the LGBT community. This week, two such bills faltered.
In Georgia, there is no state law establishing public accommodation protections for any protected class. Lawmakers are considering HB 849, a bill that would create the same protections that exist on the federal level. Though there are limitations in the bill’s definition of public accommodations, it would protect against discrimination by any place of lodging (inn, hotel, motel, etc.), any restaurant (food-serving place), any gas station, and any event space (movie theatre, concert hall, stadium, etc.).
The bill currently only offers protections based on race, color, nationality, and religion, but on Tuesday, Democrats tried to add sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability with an amendment. Rep. Tom Weldon (R) opposed the change, claiming, “Those who get bullied usually are the ones that end up doing well on down the road in life.”
The House subcommittee considering the measure rejected the amendment 6-4 vote, and the bill advanced to the House Judiciary Committee without any LGBT protections. Last week, the same subcommittee also advanced a Pastor Protection Act (HB 757), which protects religious officials from having to officiate same-sex marriages. As currently written, it would allow religious organizations to refuse to let their property to be used for purposes it objects to, but an amendment added prevents such discrimination in housing and shelter. Other “religious freedom” bills that could enable anti-LGBT discrimination are also still pending.
There are currently 28 states that offer no protections to LGBT workers, 28 states that offer no protections to LGBT tenants, and 29 states that offer no protections to LGBT patrons.SHARE THIS STORY