The people and businesses of Georgia have beaten back anti-gay religious “freedom” legislation year after year. And yet the GOP keeps bringing it back. Why are Georgia Republicans so determined to pass legislation based on hate?
On Saturday, the four leading Republican gubernatorial candidates stood together behind Georgia’s controversial religious “freedom” measure. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Sec. of State Brian Kemp, former State Sen. Hunter Hill and State Sen. Michael Williams have all pledged to sign the religious liberty proposal if elected governor.
Cagle continues to claim that the measure isn’t discriminatory, but the ACLU has seen business owners refusing to provide insurance coverage for contraception for their employees, social work graduate students refusing to counsel gay people and pharmacies turning away women seeking to fill birth control prescriptions. All of these examples of discrimination have been in the name of “religious liberty.”
Also, the fact remains that Georgians, Georgia businesses, and even Gov. Deal have said no to the discriminatory legislation year after year. Why are GOP candidates doubling down on hate?
If the discriminatory measure is passed, we will see widespread employee discrimination mislabeled as “religious freedom,” and the state could also see huge economic losses due to companies pulling out of Georgia and the inability to attract new, major employers and economic drivers like sports events and large conventions.
But more importantly, a new pro-discrimination law would be a major step backwards for civil rights in Georgia. Until our state is a welcoming place for everyone, we must all continue fighting for the inalienable rights of all Georgians by pushing back against bigotry whenever we see it.