Support for LGBT non-discrimination protections in Georgia has hit a major milestone, according to a new poll from Project Right Side (PRS) Foundation, a Republican-leaning think tank that provides research and analysis on LGBT issues.
According to the poll results, nearly 3 in 4 Georgians (74%) support a comprehensive non-discrimination law to protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. In fact, this majority support holds across party affiliation, including 88% of Democrats, 73% of Independents and 63% of Republicans.
The poll also found that an identical majority (74%) think LGBT discrimination is already illegal. Nearly 3 in 4 people told PRS pollsters that it is “already illegal under state law to fire, refuse to hire, deny housing or public accommodations access to these citizens.”
It’s not—in fact, according to a report released earlier this year by Georgia Unites Against Discrimination, Georgia has some of the loosest non-discrimination protections in the country.
Georgia is one of the only states that have no laws barring employment or public accommodations discrimination on the basis of race or religion, and because there are no federal laws explicitly protecting LGBT people from such discrimination, this group is especially vulnerable. In fact, 45% of LGBT Georgians say they have been discriminated against or harassed at work because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
What’s more, just last week the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court ruled against Jameka Evans—a Savannah security guard who was fired from her job because she is a lesbian. The court ruling found that federal civil rights protections don’t apply to LGBT people. This further underscores the need for statewide protections.
This year, Georgia lawmakers introduced several bills to address the problem of LGBT discrimination in our state, including HR 404, which would create a study committee to consider the importance of LGBT protections and give lawmakers a chance to hear stories like Jameka’s as they are deciding where they stand on a state civil rights law.
Lawmakers have two weeks to advance HR 404 before the 2017 legislative session ends. With momentum and support for passing statewide non-discrimination protections at an all time high, lawmakers should seize this opportunity.SHARE THIS STORY