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Religious "freedom to discriminate" bills in Georgia:

Part 3 of ten parts

2016: Polls and the teaching of math.
Important public opinion poll by PPRI.
Webmaster's remark on clergy protection.
House receives Bill HB 757.

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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 Webmaster's comment about public opinion polls and teaching mathematics :

The findings of public opinion polls are very important. They are used by political parties, by individuals, and by everyone in between. My feeling is that statistics is the most important field of mathematics to be taught to high school students. Without a knowledge of the effects of sample size on poll results, and the meaning of a poll's margin of error, they are unable to interpret polling results. Also, they are unable to check on the validity of politicians' statements about polls.

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2016-FEB-25: An important public opinion poll by PRRI:

The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) has conducted a poll of Georgia adult residents on the topic of two types of laws involving the LGBT community. It is part of their American Values Atlas (AVA) which involved 42,000 bilingual telephone interviews conducted among a random sample of U.S. adults between 2015-MAY and early 2016-JAN. They produced a report with data from Georgia on 2016-FEB-25: 1

  • On the topic of non-discrimination, human rights laws that protect the LGBT community from discrimination in employment, and in housing, they reported that:
    • Overall, 66% of adults in Georgia favor such anti-discrimination laws; 28% are opposed.

    • Among adults under the age of 30, 78% support freedom from discrimination/human rights laws that would protect the LGBT community.

    • Among adults over the age of 64, 51% support such laws.

    • By race, 67% of black adults favor non-discrimination laws; 63% of whites agree.

    • By political affiliation, 74% of Democrats, 68% of Independents, and 59% of Republicans favor non-discrimination laws.

    • By religious affiliation, 76% of NOTAs (persons NOT Affiliated with an organized religion), 73% of Catholics, 67% of white mainline Protestants, 65% of black Protestants, and 54% of white evangelical Protestant favor non-discrimination laws. 1

  • On the topic of pro-discrimination laws that allow public accommodations to refuse to serve the LGBT community for religious reasons, they reported that:
    • Overall, 57% of the public oppose allowing such discrimination; 37% favor permitting discrimination.

    • These values are very close to national data across the entire United States, which showed that 59% of American adults oppose such laws; 35% favor them.

    • Among adults under the age of 30, 64% oppose allowing discrimination.

    • Among adults over the age of 64, a plurality of 50% oppose allowing discrimination.

    • By race, 66% of black adults and 53% of whites oppose allowing discrimination.

    • By political affiliation, 72% of Democrats, 57% of Independents, and a small minority -- 38% of Republicans -- oppose laws allowing discrimination. A majority of 58% of Republicans favor allowing store owners to refuse to serve LGBT potential customers.

    • By religious affiliation, 64% of NOTAs (persons NOT Affiliated with an organized religion), 63% of Catholics, 53% of white mainline Protestants, and 66% of black Protestants oppose allowing discrimination. However, only a minority of 43% of white evangelical Protestant oppose allowing public accommodations to refuse to serve LGBT potential customers; a slim majority of 52% favor laws allowing discrimination. 1

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  • On the topic of allowing same-sex couples to marry, residents of Georgia are almost evenly divided: 45% favor and 47% oppose marriage equality. This compares to national figures across the whole United States which showed 53% of adults in favor and 37% opposed, with 10% undecided or refused to answer. 1

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has made gay marriages available across the entire country -- with the exception of American Samoa and some Native American areas -- support for same-sex marriage is expected to continue its gradual increase.

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poll symbol Webmaster's comment [Bias alert]:

About the "Pastor Protection Bill" component of Bill HB 757: The part of the bill that protects pastors is totally redundant. It performs no useful function. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has already built a wall of separation between religion and state. This means that, for centuries, clergy of religious institutions, including priests, ministers, pastors, etc. have had complete freedom to discriminate against any couple seeking to marry for any reason. Its only real effect of this portion of the bill appears to be to voters who are unfamiliar with the U.S. Constitution. They might feel grateful towards their senator and representative for passing a law that protects clergy from government action even though absolutely no need for such a law exists.

About the "First Amendment Defense Act"component of Bill HB 757: I find it very difficult to understand how the sponsor of the bill can claim that the bill does not facilitate discrimination against the LGBT community. Protecting people who want to discriminate against the LGBT community appears to me to be the bill's only significant function. Still, many Republican lawmakers in other states have made similar claims for their "freedom to discriminate" bills. I have never been able to make sense out of such statements.

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2016-MAR-13: House received the merged bill HB 757:

After a flurry of activity in the Georgia Senate, the merged bill was returned to the House for debate and a vote. Its progress seems to have ground to a halt, at least temporarily. It is expected to be passed there eventually and sent to the Governor's desk for his signature, in spite of opposition from Georgia's business community and the general public.

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. R.P. Jones, et al., "A Profile of Georgia Residents’ Attitudes on LGBT Issues," Public Religion Research Institute, 2016-FEB-25, at:

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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-12
Latest update: 2016-MAR-13
Author: B.A. Robinson

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