Brookhaven, GA, February 6, 2016 – Commentary by Lil Woolf – During the last Georgia legislative session a dangerous bill was introduced: RFRA—the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. First of all, freedom to practice religious beliefs is guaranteed in our constitution already, so what is there to “restore”?
Senator McKoon, who penned this bill, claims it was not proposed as a discriminating law but rather as one to allow people of faith in commerce to practice their beliefs without the government interfering and forcing them to sell goods to or provide services for those whose lifestyle they find offensive or counter to their beliefs,i.e., the LGBT community and same sex marriages. Thankfully, then District 80 Representative Mike Jacobs added a non-discrimanatory clause that all but killed the bill at the eleventh hour.
Today, that one bill has spread like the plague and we now have at least seven more religious freedom bills swirling around the Capitol. The AJC recently reported that the newest bill that supposedly “protects” clergy from being forced to perform same sex marriage is gaining support and could be coming up for a vote very soon. The ridiculousness of this is stunning. Any minister who chooses to not perform a same sex marriage need do no more than say “NO” to a request. Same sex couples are smart enough to seek unbiased clergy who will marry them and join with them in their joy of having the right (at last) to do this openly.
Approving even this bill that seems innocuous could be opening a can of worms that might not be contained. Places of worship are often used for other activities, sometimes government sponsored. Does a church that refuses to allow gays to marry in its building then decide it doesn’t want them to vote in their social hall? Would they be allowed to do that because the minister disapproves of gays and now he would have the law to back him up?
Also notice that the only ones wanting this type of discriminating legislation are those professing to be good Christians, when in fact they are far from Christ-like, and feel justified excluding others based not on the teachings of Christ but their own biased view of right and wrong. There doesn’t seem to be protection for other religions which are legitimate and who are not crying out that they are being marginalized.
I find all of this alarming and not coincidentally, very bad for business in Georgia. Most major companies in Atlanta are against these bills, and rightfully so. Do we want to be a laughing stock such as Indiana was last year? I don’t.
Which is why I am inviting and urging everyone who cares, to join me at a rally Tuesday, February 9, from noon to 1 PM at Liberty Plaza at the Georgia Capitol. Join with concerned citizens, community leaders and many clergy as we fight to stop LGBT Discrimination. A large showing of solidarity behind our LGBT community will send a powerful message.
Details are at the website below.