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By Jim Galloway
State Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, just finished his press conference on his proposed First Amendment Defense Act, intended to offer protection to individuals and institutions that hold to marriage as an institution of one man and one woman.
We’re a little sparse on details, because Kirk doesn’t intend to drop the bill until late today. Kristina Torres has much of what detail we know here. A few additional points:
— Kirk described his bill as “live and let live” legislation that doesn’t challenge the U.S. Supreme Court decision sanctioning same-sex marriage. “Currently, that’s the law of the land,” he said.
— The only text we have access to is what Kirk read aloud – specifically, a passage making clear that this isn’t a Kim Davis bill, intended to protect court clerks who refuse to offer same-sex marriage licenses:
“Nothing in this chapter shall be applied to afford any protection or relief to a public officer or employee who fails or refuses to perform his or her official duties.”
— Likewise, Kirk said his legislation offered no protection for private, for-profit businesses who do business with the public, but refuse service to gay couples.
— But Kirk said his legislation would negate city or county ordinances which might prohibit doing business with vendors/entities that discriminates – in hiring, say — on the basis of their religious beliefs. “The bill will not allow the government to discriminate against that business because of their belief in the traditional definition of marriage,” Kirk said.
The press conference was jam-packed with representatives on both sides of the issue (though business-types were missing). I don’t know who asked it, but there was one very sharp legal question from the back of the room. The interrogator noted that Kirk’s bill established a protected class – people who believe in marriage as being between one man and one woman, and that sex should occur solely within this sphere. Then he said this:
“It does not prohibit government discrimination against people who have other views, as to marriage or when sex is appropriate. Would that not make your bill an ‘inappropriate viewpoint’ discrimination? Because it protects one kind of view about sex and marriage, but not other types of view. The government is free to discriminate against other viewpoints.”
Kirk had no answer.SHARE THIS STORY