Georgia’s current civil rights protections are among the weakest in the nation
ATLANTA – Civil rights and religious leaders from across Georgia gathered at the Capitol today to release a new report detailing the growing need to update and strengthen Georgia’s existing non-discrimination protections. The report, Liberty and Justice in Georgia: Protecting Our Heritage and Growing Our Competitive Future, was commissioned by Georgia Unites Against Discrimination and includes an executive summary authored by former Bush and Reagan administration official Joe Whitley. The report details the legal need and economic imperative to ensure all Georgians are uniformly and explicitly protected from discrimination.
“No one wants to spend another year debating hostile and discriminatory bills that will hurt our communities and tarnish our state. But we can and we should start talking about what we can do to make our communities and our state stronger,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality. “We have a unique opportunity to begin a dialogue that can move our state forward and ensure everyone – whether they’re LGBT or people of faith, or LGBT people of faith – feels respected and protected in Georgia. Last year, we saw how lawmakers could damage our state’s brand. This year, we believe we have a roadmap for lawmakers that will ensure they can instead strengthen our state’s image.”
Speakers at today’s press event included Graham, Whitley, Georgia NAACP president Francys Johnson, and three faith leaders from Faith in Public Life — Rev. Caroline Magee of St. Bedes Episcopal; Rabbi Loren Lapidus, The Temple; and Rev. Gerald Durley, former pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church.
Georgia currently has some of the weakest civil rights protections of any state in the nation. According to Liberty and Justice in Georgia, the Peach State:
- Has no law that prevents local businesses from refusing service to patrons because of their religious beliefs
- Has no law preventing landowners from refusing to rent or sell to someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity
- Is one of only three states which does not prohibit private employer discrimination on the basis of factors including race or religion
- Is one of only five states that allows racial and religious discrimination in businesses open to the public
- Is one of only five states lacking legal public accommodations protections for residents
The full report is available online here.