Discriminatory bills expected in Georgia

This year, two discriminatory bills introduced by Republican State Senators will be considered by lawmakers in the Georgia General Assembly.

Senate Bill 129, which was introduced by Sen. Josh McKoon and passed by the Georgia Senate in 2015, would allow individuals or businesses to refuse goods or services to people in the name of religious liberty.  As such, the legislation would effectively negate any locally-enacted ordinances that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.  A committee in the Georgia House of Representatives amended the bill to explicitly prohibit discrimination, and the amended legislation must now be passed again by the Senate. McKoon, however, has stated that the amendment barring discrimination “completely undercuts the purpose of the bill.”

Senator Gary Kirk has plans to put forward a bill that would prohibit the government from “discriminating” against public officials or entities that receive public funds on the basis of religious belief.  If passed, the law would give cover to officials refusing to perform same-sex marriages.

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