Today, a House subcommittee considered amendments to HB 849, legislation which would extend public accommodations nondiscrimination protections to some Georgians. Currently, Georgia is one of three states without a public accommodation law, leaving thousands of people across the state vulnerable to discrimination in public spaces like parks, hotels, restaurants and medical offices.
HB 849 seeks to address that disparity, but fails to specifically enumerate “sexual orientation and gender identity” as protected classes. While the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna), has said he would like to add protected classes to the bill and sees its current form as a starting point only, the subcommittee today rejected the addition of an amendment that would extend protections to gay and transgender people. The good news though? The amendment may resurface when the bill is considered by the full committee—and we’ll be there pushing every step of the way.
Jeff Graham of Georgia Unites released the following statement after today’s hearing and vote in the subcommittee:
“While we’re disappointed that the subcommittee rejected an amendment that would make HB 849 a stronger bill, we’re continuing to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to ensure that the bill is as comprehensive as possible when it emerges from full committee. We agree with Rep. Golick that this bill should grow to protect more Georgians – including hardworking LGBT Georgians and their families.
“We’re committed to producing a bill that reflects Georgia’s values and makes our state the best possible place to do business and raise a family. That means passing legislation that protects all Georgians from discrimination, not just some.”
As some fringe lawmakers double down on their discriminatory attacks on LGBT Georgians—as evidenced by the 8 anti-LGBT bills currently pending—it’s certainly refreshing to see other lawmakers proactively work to update our state law to ensure more Georgians are protected. And we are committed to working with a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers to ensure that HB 849 affords these necessary and long overdue protections to LGBT Georgians.
You can help keep the momentum going by rallying with us near the Capitol tomorrow! Join hundreds of Georgians at noon at Liberty Plaza and let’s tell lawmakers: It’s time to protect—not attack—LGBT Georgians.SHARE THIS STORY