Lambda Legal Urges Georgia House to Reject Anti-LGBT Bill HB 757

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February 19, 2016

After the Georgia Senate passed the so-called "First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia (FADA)", Lambda Legal urged the House to reject HB 757. The anti-LGBT bill encourages private businesses, individuals and medical and social services agencies to discriminate against anyone in Georgia on religious grounds. Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Beth Littrell issued the following statement:

Lambda Legal condemns the passage of the discriminatory FADA in the Senate today and we urge the House to reject this discriminatory bill. Freedom of religion does not give any of us the right to harm others. There is no pretense but that this bill is directed at and intended to harm LGBT people, but also will apply to  non-celibate single people, unmarried couples, as well as interracial and interfaith married couples and their children. We are extremely disappointed that Georgia’s lawmakers have once again targeted LGBT people for discrimination by passing a bill that encourages discrimination and would allow individuals, businesses, government employees and others to claim religious exemptions from laws, regulations, requirements, policies, professional rules of professional responsibilities, ethical standards and more in many areas of life for Georgia’s families, workers and others who will be vulnerable to the whims of anyone claiming a religious justification to discrimination against them. The bill seeks to place personal religious beliefs above all else, even the needs of children, women, domestic violence victims, patients, and more.  It’s a toxic recipe for dividing people, creating suffering, increasing disputes, fomenting discord and encouraging discrimination across the state.

HB 757 is an effort to create a ‘freedom to discriminate,’ twisting the intent of our Nation’s founders beyond recognition. We have seen this over and over - bills that say they are about protecting one thing when the real goal is to target and discriminate against gay and transgender people, with vast implications for everyone. FADA is divisive and dangerous. It encourages discrimination, invites litigation, and collides with fundamental rights protected under the US Constitution. 

Lambda Legal urges the House to reject this bill before it causes damage and legal havoc to vulnerable children, women and minorities, and between neighbors, employee and employer, patient and caregiver, customer and company, landlord and tenant, and more. Freedom of religion is already strongly protected by federal and state law - this bill goes too far, and then it goes further.

Lambda Legal is a member of Georgia Unites, a bipartisan grassroots campaign dedicated to protecting gay and transgender Georgians from discrimination and ensuring that individuals and businesses aren’t able to use their religious beliefs to harm others.