The Georgia State Senate on Friday passed a bill amended to contain a so-called “First Amendment Defense Act,” which would open the gates to legal discrimination by those who have “sincerely held” religious beliefs against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. One tech startup, 373K, has already threatened to leave the state over concerns about the bill.
The amendment was tacked onto a bill known as the “Pastor Protection Act,” which would duplicate protections already provided by the First Amendment, allowing religious leaders to decline to perform same-sex marriages, and which had passed unanimously in the Georgia House of Representatives earlier last week.
A business coalition aimed at promoting an inclusive environment in the state, Georgia Prospers, has tweeted its concern about the discriminatory portions of the bill and urged lawmakers to address its concerns. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has not supported the bill in its current form, and has suggested that it will need to be amended before he will sign it.