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Georgia joins states floating “religious freedom” bills

Georgia joins states floating “religious freedom” bills

The Georgia Senate and House are compromising on a “religious freedom” bill. The bill has gone through a few drafts, as reported by WABE public radio earlier today:

Titled the “Free Exercise Protection Act,” the legislation would reinforce the rights of clergy members to decline to perform marriages to which they are opposed on religious grounds.

It would also allow faith-based organizations to deny services to individuals based on religious grounds.

A previous version of the legislation contained more specific language that said faith-based organizations could deny services to individuals because of their marital status.

In an update from WISTV, the bill’s restrictions have been scaled back somewhat and the current compromise will be the subject of debate beginning tomorrow evening:

The legislation says clergy cannot be forced to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony in Georgia. The bill also allows faith-based organizations not to serve customers for an event that they morally oppose.

According to WSB-TV in Atlanta, “Opponents are already out saying this so-called compromise is worse than the original bill and will lead to heated protests and calls for businesses to boycott Georgia.”

Georgia’s governor is among those opposed to the bill, according to WABE:

Gov. Nathan Deal has said he will reject any legislation that condones discrimination, and many large corporations in Georgia have condemned the religious exemption bills, saying the measures will be interpreted as discriminatory.

Photo: The Georgia State Senate. Source: https://ltgov.georgia.gov/georgia-state-senate.

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William A. Flint

Panic! I have seen this before in the 1960's and 1970's during the Civil Rights Movement. Instead of living the Christian Faith some people want to legislate restrictions on living faithful lives.

It's time to grow up. If a baker doesn't want to bake a cake for me ok. I'll find another baker. However, what do you do if a motel doesn't want to rent you a room for the night? It might be hard to find another motel in the middle of West Texas.

What ever happened to see those Christians, they love one another and us too?

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David Allen

The issue is when folks willfully want to confuse a baker, florist, printer, caterer or anyone else who vends wedding accoutrements or services to the public, and holds certain conservative beliefs, as a religious organization.

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Jay Croft

Clergy have always had the right to refuse to officiate at weddings. I've turned down a few in my day.

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