Lambda Legal Urges Georgia Governor to Veto Discrimination Bill HB 757

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March 16, 2016
Simone Bell

Today, a newly amended but still deeply discriminatory bill, HB 757,  passed the Georgia Legislature and is headed to the Gov. Nathan Deal.

We are deeply disappointed and urge Gov. Deal to veto this discriminatory bill. This is still a terrible bill and it is nowhere near a solution.  It is equally as divisive and harmful as the bill that is opposed by hundreds of ministers, thousands of employers, and tens of thousands of Georgians.

We cannot replace a bad bill with another bad bill. And this bill is very bad. It invites discrimination and encourages lawsuits. It is targeted at the LGBT community, but will sweep in others. It purports to excuse anyone from following the law if they claim it burdens their religion.

This bill encourages government officials to use religion to treat LGBT people, and others, unfairly and to ignore anti-discrimination policies. Freedom of religion does not give any of us the right to discriminate against others. The bill is a toxic recipe for increasing disputes, discord and discrimination across the state. It would allow taxpayer-funded faith-based organizations (like soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc.) to deny services to LGBT people or others, and to fire and otherwise discriminate against LGB people. It could apply to universities, colleges, schools, businesses and organizations – big and small -- that are tangentially-related to, or affiliated with, a church. Most egregiously, this bill could override Non-Discrimination Ordinances in a host of ways.

Lambda Legal urges the Governor to veto this bill before it causes damage and legal havoc between neighbors, landlord and tenant, employee and employer, and customer and company.

Do not be fooled -- nothing in this bill protects LGBT people from discrimination. It is a shameful and blatant attempt to roll back equality for LGBT people and their families.

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.