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Religious Tolerance logo


Religious "freedom to discriminate" bills in Georgia:

Part 6 of ten parts

2016-MAR: More reactions to the
passage of anti-gay bill HB 757,
the "Free Exercise Protection Act."
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In this web site, the acronym "LGBT" refers to the
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Transsexual community.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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U.S. map with Georgia highlighted 2016-MAR-17: The Georgia Legislature passed the Religious Freedom [to discriminate] Restoration Act HB 757:

The Legislature passed bill HB757 that allows faith-based establishments (churches, schools, etc.) to discriminate against same-sex couples by denying them goods and services and to refuse to hire them as employees. The vote was 37 to 18. This is very slightly more than a two-thirds majority in favor of the bill -- the ratio required for the House to override the Governor's veto, assuming the Senate also has a two-thirds votes in favor.

More than 400 businesses have opposed the bill, including Microsoft, Coca Cola, and Virgin Atlantic. If the governor signs the bill into law, there is considerable speculation that it would seriously damage Georgia's reputation as a pro-business state.

The bill is now on the Governor Nathan Deal's desk awaiting his signature or veto. He has until MSY-03 to decide.

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Reactions to the passage of HB 757:

  • The National Football League (NFL) released a statement saying that the NFL emphasizes tolerance and inclusiveness while prohibiting discrimination. The statement said, in part:

    "Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites." 1

  • Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, issued an eloquent statement saying, in part:

    "One of my bedrock values is 'Include Everyone' and it’s a principle we embrace and strive to live each and every day with my family and our associates, a vast majority of which live and work in Georgia. I strongly believe a diverse, inclusive and welcoming Georgia is critical to our citizens and the millions of visitors coming to enjoy all that our great state has to offer. House Bill 757 undermines these principles and would have long-lasting negative impact on our state and the people of Georgia." 1

  • The Atlanta Hawks released a statement saying:

    "For generations, Atlanta has stood at the forefront of civil rights and its diversity is what has made this city a cultural leader in the Southeast. The Hawks strongly believe in the values of inclusion, diversity and equal rights, core principles by which we operate our business and are essential elements in making Atlanta a leading global city." 1

  • The Atlanta Braves also commented:

    The Atlanta Braves organization believes that House Bill 757  is detrimental to our community and bad for Georgia.  Our organization believes in an environment that is inclusive of all people.  In addition to allowing discrimination against citizens of this state, the bill will have a profoundly negative impact on our organization. As a Georgia business and employer, we proudly support Georgia Prospers in its goal to ensure that the state's workplaces and communities are diverse and welcoming for all people, no matter one's race, sex, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  We are proud to represent Georgia and are opposed to any law that endorses discrimination against anyone." 2

  • The Metro Atlanta Chamber has also released a statement saying: 

    "We recognize this is a very challenging issue and that there was meaningful effort to address the balance between deeply held views and the interests and rights of others.  We appreciate the efforts made to find common ground by the House and Senate. However, we are opposed to HB 757. This legislation is in conflict with the values of diversity and inclusion that Georgians hold dear and could erode Georgia's hard-earned status as the No. 1 state for business -- and would harm our ability to create and keep jobs that Georgia families depend upon. The bill does not protect local non-discrimination ordinances, which could impact the state's ability to recruit major revenue-driving sporting events like the Super Bowl, the Final Four and the College Football Championship; it also jeopardizes our convention and tourism businesses. We agree with Governor Deal that allowing discrimination isn't a proper reflection of who we are and echo his call for unity and inclusion. We deeply appreciate the Governor's deliberation on this very important issue, and respectfully ask him to maintain this view while considering this legislation." 2

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  • Alexandra Jardine of Creativity-Online posted an article about a series of phony ads that have been created by a fake graphics company in Georgia: 4AGraphics. They attempt to show the full potential of discrimination contained within HB 757, if it becomes law. We expect that the signs will be prove to be very effective in promoting equality, and the Golden Rule, while attacking discrimination based on religion:

sign 1 sign 2 sign 3

sign 4 sign 5 3

Although the first four images clearly discriminate on the basis of religion, some people might not recognize the religious connection in the fifth sign which mentions tattoos. Between the two "clobber"passages" in the Hebrew Scriptures (a.k.a. Old Testament) that are most often interpreted as anti-gay (Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13) lies Leviticus 19:28: In the King James Version of the Bible, the passage says:

"Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord."

"Marks" have traditionally been interpreted by Jews as referring to tattoos.

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Georgia legislature passes controversial religious freedom bill," Jurist/University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 2016-MAR-18, at: http://www.jurist.org/
  2. Michael King, "Passage of Religious Freedom Bill could jeopardize Atlanta Super Bowl," 11 Alive (WXIA, Atlanta).
  3. Alexandra Jardine, "These Shockingly Prejudicial Signs Are Actually a Call to Action," Creativity, 2016-MAR-17, at: http://creativity-online.com/

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Home > Religious freedom > Freedom to Discriminate > 2016 Georgia > here

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Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2016-MAR-14
Latest update: 2016-MAR-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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