Target: Nathan Deal, Governor of Georgia
Goal: Stop attempt to license discrimination in Georgia.
More discriminatory laws are advancing under the cover of “religious freedom,” this time in Georgia. Not only would Georgia’s proposed law give businesses and non-profits in the state a license to deny services on the basis of sexuality, like similar legislation in Missouri and Indiana, it represents an intensification of anti-LGBT legislative efforts in Georgia. The law began as the Pastor Protection Act, simply an unnecessary reiteration of the First Amendment’s guarantee that clergy can decide what ceremonies they will perform. The Georgia Senate drastically intensified the legislation, transforming it into a protection from punishment for anti-LGBT discrimination so long as it is motivated by religious or moral conviction. As The Advocate points out in “Georgia Lawmakers Make Antigay Bill Worse, Send to Governor,” that change in the legislation means that “social service providers, such as adoption agencies, food pantries, or homeless shelters, which often receive public funding” would be free to discriminate in Georgia.
The bigotry on display in the Georgia legislature is unlikely to go unremarked by the business community for long. Major corporations and chambers of commerce were united in their opposition to similar “religious freedom” legislation in Missouri. Moreover, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin called on entertainment industry leaders to pull production from the state if its discriminatory legislation takes effect. Griffin told the crowd that if the “religious freedom” bill “is signed into law, your employees, your contractors — all those working on your production are at risk of state-sanctioned discrimination. That is wrong. It’s un-American.”
By signing this petition you can add your voice to Chad Griffin’s. Tell Georgia Governor Nathan Deal that discrimination is un-American and bad for business. Tell him to veto Georgia’s “religious freedom” bill.
Dear Governor Deal,
Discriminatory legislation has reached your desk. You are Georgia’s last defense against a virulent anti-LGBT law. Pledge to veto the “religious freedom” legislation in order to protect the equality of Georgians.
Analyses conducted by Columbia Law School’s Public Rights / Private Conscience Project on similar legislation in Indiana concluded that the confusion generated by “religious freedom” laws would lead to individuals and corporations “taking the law into their own hands and acting in ways that violate generally applicable law on the grounds that they have a religious justification for doing so.” In Georgia, that confusion could hurt the state’s most vulnerable citizens. According to The Advocate, the breadth of Georgia’s proposed “religious freedom” bill is such that social service providers, from adoption agencies to food pantries, could be free to deny service to LGBT Georgians. Moreover, many of the organizations that the legislation would free to discriminate receive public funding.
Consider the words of Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin: state sanctioned discrimination “is wrong. It is un-American.” The business community has been similarly unequivocal. Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines are already on the record against anti-LGBT legislation in Georgia. The NFL has even suggested that a discriminatory “religious freedom” law could stand in the way of Georgia’s Super Bowl bid, announcing, “NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard… Whether the laws and regulations of a state… are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites.”
Join the Human Rights Campaign. Join the Business community. Join us. Pledge to preserve equality in Georgia and veto discriminatory “religious freedom” legislation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Fry1989