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Breaking: State Senate passes anti-LGBTQ license to discriminate

We are disappointed by the Senate passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), SB 180, tonight. Over the last decade, Georgia legislators have repeatedly rejected the need for similar legislation. Freedom of religion is a fundamental value of our country and of our state, which is why it’s already guaranteed in the federal and state constitutions.

This is why hundreds of Georgia faith leaders from across diverse traditions have denounced discrimination done in their name. Time and time again, polls have shown that the majority of Georgians firmly oppose discrimination under the guise of advancing religious freedom.

Georgia is one of only three states with no statewide non-discrimination law. Without having a statewide civil rights law, SB 180 could create a broad license to discriminate on the basis of faith with no necessary protections against discrimination on the basis of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, country of origin, etc.

In other states, similar laws have already been used to deny access to preventative services under the Affordable Care Act, which include contraception, HIV prevention such as PrEP and PEP, and other preventative services including treatment for STIs and the HPV vaccine.

Furthermore, across the country, RFRAs have already been used to justify discrimination in public health, child welfare and adoptions, marriage-related services, employment, and public accommodations, along with obstructing criminal investigations. This is not a hypothetical– RFRAs are already doing real harm in other states.

Georgians deserve better from their lawmakers. Instead of wasting time on long-settled issues, lawmakers should be focused on protecting Georgians from discrimination and expanding access to medical care. We will continue to firmly advocate against SB 180 as it now moves to the House of Representatives.


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