(Update: Thankfully, this bill died once again before coming up for a full vote. This allows the GOP to run on the issue again and again while still scaring evangelicals that everyone is coming for their rights. They get the best of both worlds — fear-mongering and avoiding the issue about which they fear-monger.)
It seems Georgia’s right-wing is as obsessed with gay people as Fox News is with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They’re always on their mind, as the song goes. The song in their head, however, should be “Georgia on My Mind” — either the Ray Charles version or Willie Nelson’s take, both of which are amazing.
Senate Bill 221 has been introduced by Sen. Marty Harbin, R-Tyrone. It’s the so-called “religious liberty” bill that supposedly mirrors the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. New Gov. Brian Kemp vowed to sign the bill so long as it mirrors the federal RFRA.
That’s supposed to make it OK. The problem is that — unlike a lot of other states — Georgia does not have specific laws banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. And the wolves in sheep’s clothing know that. When they tried to attach specific language protecting the LGBTQ community to Josh McKoon’s “religious liberty” bill a few years ago, he vehemently protested. With those specific protections, it might have passed.
They know that everyone’s greatest fear — that someone may have to bake a cake for a gay wedding — can be addressed by citing “religious liberty.” And they hide under the cloak of this merely being a reiteration of the federal law. It is not.
Many companies have threatened to leave Georgia if this law passes, and future events like the Super Bowl and All-Star games might not be played here. The state’s status as the Hollywood of the South would no doubt dwindle. Perhaps there would be a huge slate of Kirk Cameron movies to make up for the loss.
Whether all those economic threats would come to pass is debatable. What’s not debatable is whether it’s the right thing for this state. It’s not.
Perhaps these zealots should ask themselves a simple question you might have heard before: What would Jesus do?
I know exactly what Jesus would do if he saw this bill and the true intentions behind it.
Anyone remember this old GPB signoff that once told me it was time to think about going to sleep? I hope the zealots behind SB 221 take a look at it. Please, y’all, keep Georgia on your mind — which may require you to quit obsessing about gay people for a few minutes.