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.