LGBTQ groups urge Georgia leadership to reject mean-spirited RFRA bill
A number of pro-LGBTQ organizations, including American Unity Fund, Georgia Equality, Georgia Unites, Freedom for all Americans, and many others, have signed on to a letter urging Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and leadership in the state legislature to reject a proposed religious freedom bill.
The bill, House Bill 757 or the “Pastor Protection Act,” took on a new definition when mean-spirited anti-gay language was inserted into the document. In reaction, the letter states:
As drafted, the bill invites individuals, faith-based organizations and even for-profit entities to deny services to anyone who they feel conflicts with their view of marriage. The scope of this extraordinary bill means legally married same-sex couples and their families, single mothers and their children, victims of domestic violence, and so many other hardworking Georgians could be denied critical – sometimes life-saving – services.
The letter continues by noting business leaders’ reaction to the bill and the impending damage to business growth in the state as a result of its possible passage.
As leaders in Georgia, you can advance this discriminatory bill – and in the process, you will damage your state’s economy and tarnish your brand to an extent that will undoubtedly bring Georgia’s recent business growth to a screeching halt. You will send a clear message to the rest of the nation that not all people are welcomed or treated equally in Georgia. Or, you could do the right thing. You could reject this divisive and discriminatory bill, showing real leadership and taking a bold step that aligns with the values of Georgia voters and business owners. We hope you make the right decision at this important juncture.
Prominent business leaders have weighed in, including Porsche Cars North America Vice President Joe Folz, who said, “we are standing up for the principles of inclusion and fair treatment for every Georgia citizen and every visitor to Georgia. Legislation that promotes – or even appears to allow – discrimination against certain classes of people hurts Georgia’s hard-earned reputation.”
Many leaders have noted that the LGBTQ citizens facing discrimination are business owners and industry leaders, and will move from the state if the legislation passes.
Indiana set a precedent for negative backlash from the business community and a hurting business community, and Georgia could end up with the same fate.