Georgia Republicans Making Another Run At Anti-LGBTQ ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

Georgia state Sen. Marty Harbin introduced legislation to legalize LGBTQ discrimination

State Sen. Marty Harbin of Georgia has introduced SB 221, a Religious Freedom Restoration Act that would legalize discrimination against LGBTQ people in the Peach state.

Nine state senators (seven of whom are committee chairman) have signed on as cosponsors ahead of the March 7 procedural deadline.

According to Georgia Equality, SB 221 would “allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers, among others, and would grant taxpayer-funded agencies a broad license to discriminate against LGBT youth, families, and other Georgians.”

In 2016, a similar bill was passed but former Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the legislation as economic backlash prompted the Metro Atlanta Chamber to predict financial losses in excess of $600 million in regard to sporting events, convention business and major movie location shoots.

Newly-elected Gov. Brian Kemp, however, has signaled he will sign a RFRA bill if it lands on his desk.

During his campaign last year, Kemp told his followers he would support legislation that mirrors the language in a federal religious freedom law that was passed in 1993.

His opponent in the 2018 gubernatorial race, Stacey Abrams, says she opposes the legislation.

That legislation, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, was found to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997. SCOTUS ruled that the law could only apply to federal government.

As a result, 21 individual states have passed their own state RFRAs.

SB 221 includes the same language as the federal RFRA, but also adds provisions for recovering legal costs in religious lawsuits and gives judges the power to change local laws that might be deemed as infringing on religious beliefs.

Georgia political pundits say the bill will probably pass in the senate, but the legislation’s chances in the state House are unclear.

This isn’t the only anti-LGBTQ legislation working its way through the Georgia legislature.

Last week, the state senate passed SB 375 (by a vote of 35-19) that would allow adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs.

That bill is now headed to the state House for consideration.

Watch the report from local NBC affiliate 11Alive below.

Georgia Could Lose Super Bowl Due To Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

As Georgia’s newly passed House Bill 757 – the so-called ‘Religious Freedom’ legislation – heads to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk for signature or veto, big businesses are weighing in and they don’t like what they see.

While pretending to protect religious freedoms, what HB757 actually does is legalize discrimination against LGBTs.

Now, the NFL has sent a non-too-subtle message to Gov. Deal – veto the hate or lose the Super Bowl.

From Outsports:

“NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. 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.”

Atlanta is one of the four finalists to host the Super Bowl in 2019 and 2020. The Atlanta Falcons have been embroiled in a controversy of their own this month after reports of coaches asking prospective players if they are gay.

Meanwhile, Falcons owner Arthur Blank has publicly opposed the bill:

“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.”

It wouldn’t be the first time the NFL moved a Super Bowl over perceived discrimination. In 1992, the League moved the Super Bowl from Arizona to Los Angeles when the state refused to recognize Martin Luther King Day.

Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal Plans Executive Order On “Religious Freedom”

Earlier today, the Louisiana state House failed to advance Gov. Bobby Jindal’s HB 707 on a vote of 10-2. The bill is similar to other states’ “Religious Freedoms” legislation that has become synonymous with anti-gay animus.

In a statement this afternoon, Jindal says he will issue an executive order that will do what his failed bill might have done:

“We are disappointed by the committee’s action to return the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act to the calendar.

“We will be issuing an Executive Order shortly that will accomplish the intent of HB 707 to prevent the state from discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman.

“This Executive Order will prohibit the state from denying or revoking a tax exemption, tax deduction, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, professional license, certification, accreditation, or employment on the basis the person acts in accordance with a religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Jindal plans to announce a 2016 run for the GOP presidential nomination on June 11th.

Rihanna Denounces Indiana RFRA Laws During NCAA Performance

Pop superstar Rihanna threw down on Indiana’s RFRA law during her performance at the NCAA March Madness Music Fest in Indianapolis this weekend.

Just as she was about to launch into “Live Your Life,” the singer shared her opinion of the anti-gay legislation.

Rihanna also used her headlining performance to slam Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Although the bill was amended to make it less discriminatory toward the LGBT community, Rihanna still unloaded on the RFRA in an expletive-laden tirade prior to performing “Live Your Life.”

“Who’s feeling these new bullshit laws that they’re trying to pass over here? I say fuck that shit,” Rihanna told the crowd, inciting chants of “Fuck that shit.” “We’re just living our motherfucking lives. Indiana!” Although Rihanna’s March Madness performance was live-streamed, her Indiana comments were heavily censored upon broadcast.

Nevada: RFRA Legislation Declared ‘Dead’

News from my home state Nevada!

In the aftermath of Indiana and Arkansas seeing public outrage over so-called “religious freedom” legislation, Nevada lawmakers have wisely decided to step away from similar legislation.

And it wasn’t just the last week’s news that helped kill the Nevada bill.

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

“The Governor believes that this bill is not necessary because the interests of all Nevadans are protected under current law,” Mari St. Martin, spokeswoman for Gov. Brian Sandoval said Thursday night.

Even the bill sponsors are backing away from it.

“After careful reflection and consultation with legislative counsel, I have determined that Nevada’s Constitution already contains adequate safeguards and protections for the civil liberties of Nevada’s citizens, and further legislative emphasis of these rights would be unnecessary,” freshman legislator and Assembly Judiciary Committee Vice Chairman Erven Nelson, R-Las Vegas, said Thursday.

The reaction to Indiana’s legislation was a factor in deciding to withdraw the bill, Nelson said.

“We obviously do not want to have happen in Nevada what’s been threatened to happen in Indiana as far as a boycott and things like that.”

Running down the list, that’s Indiana, Arkansas, Georgia and Nevada all turning back the hate.


Arnold Schwarzenegger Expresses Concern And Fury Over Anti-Gay Religious Freedom Laws

In a Washington Post op-ed published Friday morning, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) expressed his fury towards his fellow Republicans over anti-gay religious freedom laws such as the one recently passed in Indiana.

“As an American, I’m incredibly concerned about what happened in Indiana this week and the threat of similar laws being passed in other states. As a Republican, I’m furious.”

“Distracting, divisive laws like the one Indiana passed aren’t just bad for the country, they’re also bad for our party.”

Regarding corporations like Walmart that took a stand against the divisive legislation: “Those businesses are doing the right thing, but they have also done the math. As a party, we need to take a similarly realistic look,” he said.

Mike Huckabee: Gays “Won’t Stop Until There Are No More Churches”

Mike Huckabee appeared on anti-gay Tony Perkins “Washington Watch” radio show yesterday wherein he described a bizarro world things mean “the opposite of what they are.”

“It is a classic example of — really a page out of ‘1984,’ when what things mean are the opposite of what they really are. And that’s what I’m seeing here is that in the name of tolerance, there’s intolerance. In the name of diversity, there’s uniformity. In the name of acceptance, there’s true discrimination.”

Kinda like conservatives in Indiana and Arkansas repeating over and over that their “religious freedom” laws had NOTHING to do with the gays.

At the end of the clip Huckabee threatens that the gays “won’t stop until there are no more churches.”

Seriously? And the LGBT community is the one inciting riot?

Folks like Huckabee and Perkins use the same tactic over and over again. Repeat, repeat, repeat, and hope uninformed people pick up the hateful chant.

Listen below via Right Wing Watch:

Georgia Ends Legislative Session Without Passing RFRA

The Georgia lawmakers closed their legislative session without passing a controversial “religious freedom” bill. Similar legislation has held the nation’s attention this past week thanks to bills in Indiana and Arkansas.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Gov. Nathan Deal, who has repeatedly said he would support legislation that mirrored the 1993 law, signaled the debate has become too toxic. He said in an interview that supporters ensure that anti-discrimination language is in the measure next year if they want to earn his signature.

“That’s the most important thing. And that is a delicate thing to do,” he said. “There’s been so much hyperbole. It’s hard to identify what can you say without saying too much, what can you say without saying too little, and what will people read into either version that you like.”

A version of the legislation was swiftly approved by Senate lawmakers, but it was tabled in the House after three Republicans joined with Democrats to add an anti-discrimination amendment. And the uproar over similar bills in Arkansas and Indiana, along with growing pushback from iconic Georgia businesses, seemed to seal its fate.