Better Georgia

Tell Georgia businesses to speak out against discrimination and abuse.

Tell Georgia’s business community to take a stand against the discriminatory legislation being re-introduced by Sen. Josh McKoon, Rep. Sam Teasley and other extremists under the guise of “religious freedom.” This radical, unnecessary legislation would harm women, children, members of the LGBT community and people of all faiths by allowing people to use their religion as an excuse for discrimination, child abuse, spousal abuse or other criminal behavior.

“AT&T, Delta, Home Depot, Intercontinental Hotels & UPS:

We respectfully request that you stand up for the rights of all of Georgia’s citizens by speaking out against legislation that supports people who want to use their religion to discriminate and opt out of child welfare and other laws. As Georgia-based business leaders, your voices are vital to the conversation about human rights and equality in our state.”

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    Businesses and individuals should not be able to use religion as an excuse for discrimination, abuse or other criminal behavior. But that’s exactly what Sen. Josh McKoon and Rep. Sam Teasley are trying write into law with their unnecessary, so-called “religious freedom” bills.

    Religious freedom is already protected by the First Amendment, so this legislation would do nothing but allow employers and business owners to impose their personal religious beliefs on employees and customers.

    McKoon first introduced his extreme legislation during the 2014 legislative session. His attempt failed, in large part, due to Georgia-based business leaders like Coca-Cola, Delta, Home Depot, Intercontinental Hotels & UPS stepping up and speaking out for the rights of all citizens.

    Now, McKoon and his cohorts are introducing the bill again with a potential compromise that’s just as damaging.

    Not only would McKoon and Teasley’s law further protect bosses who distribute books filled with hate speech to taxpayer-funded staff at work, but a restaurateur could deny service to an out-of-wedlock mother. A cop could refuse to intervene in a domestic dispute if his religion allows for husbands beating their wives, and a hotel chain could refuse to rent rooms to Jews, Hindus, or Muslims.

    It would allow physicians and nurses to refuse medical care, such as blood transfusions, that they find religiously offensive and allow government employees who adhere to extremist religions to refuse service to a person of a particular race.

    McKoon and Teasley's law would open the door to people who would use their religion to opt out of laws from child welfare to discrimination. It would lead to legal chaos over whose religion is more important in the eyes of our courts and lawmakers.

    The legislation would give criminals who abuse their children or spouses a new excuse and make it even more difficult for police officers to put abusers behind bars.

    Georgia’s “religious liberty” legislation would be an enormous leap backwards for equality, civil rights and child protection. With the help of Georgia’s business leaders, we can defeat these extremist bills and continue to move Georgia forward.