Remember RFRA? It’s back.
The latest religious exemption bill – the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act – would allow businesses and individuals to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to harm and discriminate against others—including gay and transgender people. Sen. Josh McKoon has made it his singular mission to pass a harmful religious exemptions law that would open a can of worms, leaving thousands of Georgians vulnerable to discrimination.
And he is not interested in compromise. But we’ve got power in numbers.
Georgia’s legislative session has resumed. We are mobilizing the grassroots campaign we need to defeat Georgia’s RFRA once and for all. It’s going to be a fight. We are organizing volunteers to help get the word out.
We need your support!
Georgia Equality needs your help at the Rush Center for phone-banking efforts on the following times:
Phonebanking January 14 4pm – 6pm & 6pm – 8pm
We will be posting new phone-banks for the rest of the month. – Please RSVP to get specific times and locations.
January 23 – Lobby and Advocacy Training at the Rush Center 11pm – 4pm
February 9 – Lobby Day and Rally Meet Legislators 10am ; Rally 12pm at Liberty Plaza
Please RSVP here and sign up!
Urge your lawmakers to stand with the strong majority of Georgians who oppose discrimination and believe in treating all people in our state fairly. Send an email now and help defeat RFRA.
Since making the transition to professional ministry from a longtime career in HIV/AIDS education, advocacy, research coordination at AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta, Georgia State University and several community-based organizations—national and local— Duncan is joining Georgia Equality as our new Faith Outreach Consultant. This position will be in partnership with the Freedom to Marry organization. Continue reading
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day- Monday, January 19, 2015 marks the 14th annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast. This year’s theme is, “Justice, Freedom, and Desire: A Homecoming Part II,” following on the coattails of last year’s standing room-only event. This year’s event will take place at the Loudermilk Center (40 Courtland Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30303). Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and breakfast will be served at 10:00 a.m. Continue reading
The 2015 Georgia General Assembly begins Monday, January 12 and Georgia Equality has a packed
legislative agenda. Here is your preview of a few things GE is expecting. Continue to follow GE on Facebook and Twitter for breaking updates as they happen under the gold dome.
The first bill Georgia Equality is watching is one that’s been getting a lot press coverage in the past weeks. Titled the “Preventing Government Overreach on Religious Expression Act” by its author, Rep. Teasley R-Marietta, this Religious Refusal bill would allow people to discriminate against LGBT people because treating LGBT people equally would “burden” their religious beliefs. GE expects a companion bill with similar language to be introduced by Sen. McKoon R-Columbus. In addition to opening the door to LGBT discrimination and withholding of information and services to women, there are concerns that this legislation could be used to erode school curriculum (ie. Evolution or Sex Ed), jeopardize child welfare, present barriers to women fleeing domestic violence and erode the ability of municipalities to pass nondiscrimination policies. Georgia Equality will be opposing this bill in its current form until it is certain that LGBT will not experience increased discrimination as a result of its passage.
The Fair Employment Practices Act, authored by Rep. Drenner D-Avondale Estates will also return this year. This bill aims to codify in law that the state of Georgia cannot fire or refuse to hire public employees simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Georgia Equality has worked with Rep. Drenner on the passage of this bill for a few years and is ready to continue to fight for the right of LGBT Georgians to go to work and be judged on their merit, not because they are gay or transgender. GE will join with Rep. Drenner and the bill’s numerous co-sponsors from previous sessions again this year in an effort to pass this bill.
In light of the recent federal changes to anti-profiling legislation Georgia Equality is interested in seeing similar protections added to the Georgia Code. HB 13 is authored by Rep. Tyrone Brooks, D-Atlanta and would require policies that prohibit law enforcement officers from using various characteristics in determining whether to stop a motor vehicle. GE would like to see protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity added to this bill. Once those protections are added to this bill, Georgia Equality will support its passage.
Finally, GE will continue to monitor and fight for (or against) legislation affecting several key areas of importance for the LGBT community. We will continue to push for legislation that will eliminate the coverage gap that has arisen because of the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid. We will continue working to protect the funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program that provides life saving medication for uninsured and underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS. As in years past, Georgia Equality will play a major role in supporting or opposing bills that come up in the middle of the session concerning LGBT families, hate crimes, safe schools, and others that would affect member sof the LGBT community’s abilities to live their lives. It’s sure to be an excited next couple of months, so stay tuned. Georgia Equality will send out updates and action alerts as they happen.
FEDERAL JUDGE DENIES GEORGIA ATTORNEY GENERAL’S MOTION TO DISMISS IN SAME-SEX MARRIAGE LAWSUIT
Georgia Equality is pleased to report that the jugde for Georgia’s marriage equality lawsuit has denied Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens’ motion to dismiss. Georgia’s lawsuit will continue forward in it’s effort to bring the freedom to marry to Georgia.
“We congratulate our colleagues at Lambda Legal on their great work and success in this case, and look forward to working toward continued success together” said Jeff Graham, Executive Director of Georgia Equality. “While this in no way indicates the judge’s opinion on same-sex marriage, it is encouraging that even one of the more conservative judges in the district is unwilling to accept the State’s tired claim, based on no evidence, that opposite sex couples are better for children.”
Read the full order here: http://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/innis_ga_20150108_order-denying-motion-to-dismiss