How much backlash do Georgia legislators need before they stop pushing legislation that would allow discrimination against LGBT Georgians in the name of religion? You’d think with 400 plus companies and influential CEO’s opposing HB 757 and similar bills they’d be done with it already.
Nonetheless, HB 757 (the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which would allow businesses, taxpayer funded organizations, and individuals ignore laws that conflict with their views of marriage) has not been declared dead. The bill has passed the Senate and could be brought up on the House floor at any time.
The national spotlight on Georgia got brighter on Saturday when The New York Times wrote a stinging editorial calling out HB 757 for what it is: a bill that “shields discrimination against gays.” The editorial is spot on. It notes:
One of the most alarming bills comes out of Georgia, where state lawmakers have cobbled together a dangerous piece of legislation that would prohibit the government from punishing anyone or anything — individuals; businesses; and nonprofit groups, including those that receive taxpayer funds — for discrimination, so long as they claim it was based on their religious views of marriage.
And then on Sunday, it became clear that HB 757 and similar bills were triggering international embarrassment for the state. The Guardian wrote about the coalition of 400 companies that are fighting “religious freedom bills” in the state and noted that HB 757 has “raised serious concerns among state lawmakers, business owners, the faith community and activists.”
Indeed, tallying the business leaders, faith leaders, editorial boards, and celebrities opposing HB 757 is getting difficult because there are just so many. Georgia Prospers has organized a truly impressive list of businesses that are “committed to a prosperous Georgia that welcomes all people.” And, of course, many business leaders are also speaking out on their own.
Businesses and Business Leaders
Georgia must stop discrimination in the name of religious freedom https://t.co/E9R9ueejJr— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) February 27, 2016
A Georgia Bill Shields Discrimination Against Gays, - this is what I am talking about- new Georgia law- hello SCOTUS https://t.co/KhgnoqN6AH— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) February 27, 2016