Is Arizona's Anti-Gay Law Headed To Georgia?
Legislation similar to Arizona's religious protections bill, SB 1062, is now under consideration in Georgia.
Members of the House Judiciary subcommittee are expected to hold a hearing Wednesday afternoon on House Bill 1023, the "Preservation of Religious Freedom Act." It is sponsored by State Representatives Sam Teasley (R-Marietta), Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City), Andrew Welch (R-McDonough), and David Casas (R-Lilburn).
It's gathered bipartisan support so far, with several Republican and Democratic House members on board with the bill.
A hearing for the bill took place on Monday and WSB-TV reports that it was standing room only in the Capitol Building in Atlanta.
If enacted into law, HB 1023 turns religion into a veritable "get out of jail or lawsuits free" card for any state or local law. It exempts people and businesses from any government action or legal proceeding that "directly or indirectly constrains, inhibits, curtails, or denies the exercise of religion by any person or that directly or indirectly pressures any person to engage in any action contrary to that person's exercise of religion."
"(I)ndirectly inhibits ... indirectly pressures" -- that's incredibly broad language, and it opens the door to all kinds of unintended consequences. And it applies "whether or not the exercise is ... a central part or requirement of the person's religious tenets or beliefs." In short, it offers a means to evade almost any law that can plausibly be claimed to offend even a vague religious sensibility.
Will legislation of this sort continue to gain momentum throughout the U.S., Instincters?
This development in Georgia makes it even more clear how important it is that Gov. Brewer issue a veto in Arizona and nip this kind of legislation in the bud.
(H/T: The Gaily Grind)