Saturday, March 14, 2015

Georgia is poised to pass the nation’s harshest “religious freedom” law, allowing discrimination, judicial obstruction, and even domestic violence

Georgia is poised to pass the nation’s harshest “religious freedom” law, allowing discrimination, judicial obstruction, and even domestic violence. Yet while the bill is far worse than Arizona’s notorious “Turn the Gays Away” bill, it’s attracted far less attention from national advocacy groups and businesses.
The bill, the “Georgia Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” is one of a raft of similar bills (RFRAs, for short) wending their way through state legislatures across the country. The bills are part of the backlash against same-sex marriage, but they go much farther than that. Like the Hobby Lobby decision, which allows closely-held corporations to opt out of part of Obamacare, these laws carve out exemptions to all kinds of laws if a person (or corporation) offers a religious reason for not obeying them.
For example? Restaurants could refuse to serve gay or interracial couples, city clerks could refuse to marry interfaith couples, hotels could keep out Jews, housing developments could keep out black people (Genesis 9:18-27), pharmacies could refuse to dispense birth control, banquet halls could turn away gay weddings, schools could specifically allow anti-gay bullying, and employers could fire anyone for any “religious” reason.
The national movement to pass these laws is well-funded and well-coordinated; most of the laws are written by the same handful of conservative legal hacks in Washington, working for organizations like the Alliance Defending Freedom and Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, both of which have had a hand in the Georgia bill.
Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, said in an interview with The Daily Beast that “in the last two years, there have been 35 bills introduced around the country to establish or expand a RFRA. And there have been over 80 bills filed that specifically allow for discrimination against gay and trans communities.”
As worrisome as these laws are, however, Georgia’s is worse than most.  
First, the language is the strictest possible. As with other RFRAs, Georgia’s act says that the government cannot “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” without a “compelling governmental interest” and the “least restrictive means of furthering” that interest. This is the classic three-prong test that was at issue inHobby Lobby, and is considered extremely difficult to meet.
Georgia’s RFRA also specifies that “exercise of religion” can be just about any “practice or observance of religion, whether or not compelled by or central to a system of religious belief.”
In other words, if I say it’s my religious exercise, it is.
Second, the Senate version of the bill was passed by its sponsor, State Senator Josh McKoon, with all kinds of shenanigans. He rammed it through the judiciary committee, which he chairs, while opposition members were in the bathroom.
Then, on dubious procedural grounds, he refused an amendment by a fellow Republican that would have specified that the “religious freedom” could not be used to discriminate against others.
Ironically, says Graham, Georgia doesn’t have that many protections for LGBT people in the first place.
“This is a preemptive strike against the LGBT community,” he says. “If this bill is not intended to allow discrimination, why were its sponsors so adamant about refusing to say so?”
McKoon’s bill passed the Republican-dominated State Senate on March 5, and now heads to the State House, where Republicans have a 2:1 advantage over Democrats, and where representatives have shelved their own version of the bill to try to pass McKoon’s version.
The combination of these factors has led to a curious result: a law so strict that it will lead to a host of unintended consequences—and has even led some Republicans to oppose it.


  1. Is there a problem here? I don't see any problem. Let the Gender Confused get their own island and leave us (the 99.7% majority) alone.

  2. Who elects these fucking idiots?

  3. Rafael EspericuetaMarch 14, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    Other fucking idiots, obviously.

  4. Rafael EspericuetaMarch 14, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    The right of religious freedom should never go so far as to allow freedom to persecute those with differing points of view. Should religious fanatics be allowed to torture people to get them to "convert"? Obviously not, as that is impinging on another person's freedom of religion. Intolerance in any form is the one thing that can't be tolerated.

  5. This is purely anti-Islamic law. Most people are sensitive to the other issues and there will be discrimination against Jews or gays but when it comes to Muslims, well you will find out.

  6. Haha, Islam, LGBT, gay stuff, Christianity all is related to Judaism.

    Tell me why didn't have Jesus have woman as disciples? He was a disgusting gay!!!

  7. Reason #9 why we should just kick the southern states out of the United States. They simply do not represent modern society, nor are they made up of people living in modern times.

    These people are no different than ISIS, but using a different religion to spread intolerance and hate.

  8. Really bizarre comments at this blog.

  9. Yours is the one sane comment here.

  10. Actually, I don't believe these bills are actually supported by a wide band of people in Georgia. A few of course, but that hardly represents the masses. Rather it is to bring attention to the Muslims setting up Islamic communities here in the US. Many Islamic' s wish to implement Sharia Law , which is anti US Constitutional. If conservatives come right out and attack it they are viewed as raciest / bigots. However, bring attention to faulty bills this way allows liberal to get a fresh look at the situation that is coming to America if we don't address it now. Too many liberals are eager to please the vague introductions of religions from around the world, without truly considering what it is that such religions stand for. So this bill helps liberals put the ideologies in perspective. Such many liberals tend to think of themselves as being so progressive , smart and, edgy.

  11. What many don't realize is the Torah, the Bible and especially the Quran are socially brutal to individuals and to not respect civil liberties that we value so much in our country. It also what makes us successful is the ability to be analytical in deciding fairness and attempting justice.
    This country is going to be going through a rapid shift soon with Muslims migrating to the US. Most Muslims are good people and are Muslims by culture first and mild in religion applying it only to them and their families., like most Americans do. However, because of the way the Quran is written it cannot not be reinterpreted, or analyzed to depart form the origanal meaning. Therefor it has a tendency to attract zealots concerned with their and everyone else's path to God/ Allah. The culturally mild Muslims cannot speak against the conservative Muslims due to penalties of death for being branded an apostate. That is why it is rare to hear Muslims ever say a word against other Islamic / Jihadist terrorist. In a way the US and western countries, as crazy as it is, is probably the Islam's last best hope for modernizing it's religion and way of thinking concerning living and succeeding in a global environment. Otherwise if the world goes 7th century Islamic, heads will be rolling everywhere, blood will stain the ground indefinitely, due to the fact that there is no peace in Islam until everyone is Islamic and everyone is of the same sect and thinking. These folks have been fighting with each other since the Profit Mohammed's death. Do you really think anything will change if we pacify them?
    I don't their religion is highly political as well, and we all know how consistent politics are.