Indiana has been getting all of the media coverage in recent days regarding its passage of a “Religious Freedom” bill, which allows businesses to discriminate against anyone — usually members of the LGBT community — they disagree with on religious grounds. A similar bill is still alive in Georgia with just a week remaining in the legislative calendar.
Opponents of the Georgia bill have tried to kill it by attaching a provision which would prohibit it from violating the civil rights of any Georgian, including the rights of LGBT state residents. That amendment was added by GOP Representative Mike Jacobs. Jacobs said he put the so-called “poison pill” into the legislation due to calls and emails from constituents who expressed concern the bill might do long-term financial harm to the Peach State.
Major employers in Georgia, including the Home Depot, say they are opposed to any legislation which might impose restrictions on anyone. Stephen Holmes, Director of Corporate Communications for the home improvement company, remarked:
“We’ve been clear on several occasions that we don’t support anything that discriminates.”
Coca-Cola, which is headquartered in Atlanta, was opposed to a similar bill in the 2014 Georgia General Assembly, and it’s corporate web site clearly states:
“Coca-Cola does not condone intolerance or discrimination of any kind anywhere in the world.”
More than 200 clergy from various denominations have also signed a letter urging Georgia lawmakers to reject the bill.
But with one week remaining in the 2015 session, the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA) could still make its way out of committee through a procedural move by proponents or other tactics. In light of the controversy which has been generated by the Indiana bill, it seems unlikely that Georgia, birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the part-time home of Elton John, will seek to put itself in the spotlight in such a negative way.
This time next week we will all know for certain which road Georgia chooses: a progressive future or a hate-filled return to the past.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.