Georgia’s First Amendment Defense Act Turning Heads

Greg Kirk
State Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, shows signatures of fellow lawmakers on a bill he plans to introduce that provides religious exemptions in the wake of last year's U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Atlanta. Kirk says religious adoption agencies, schools and other nonprofits should be able to refuse service to same-sex couples. But Kirk says government employees still would have to carry out duties of their job, including clerks issuing marriage licenses. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Augusta, GA – Some people in the LGBT community are calling Georgia’s First Amendment Defense Act wrong.  The bill, which was introduced last week, would prohibit government from any discriminatory action against a person, but not an individual. Augusta Pride Vice President Lonzo Smith said the bill violates the First and the 14th Amendments and anyone, such as an unwed mother or a mixed race couple could be denied services if it offends someone.

Smith said passing the bill could turn away people wanting to move to the Peach State.

“A similar bill was passed in Indiana and there was such a great economic backlash that the state had to go back in and state that this was not a bill designed to discriminate,” he said.

Senate Bill 284, sponsored by former Southern Baptist Pastor Greg Kirk, is being called the Kim Davis Bill. Davis is the clerk from Kentucky who made headlines when she refused to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple.   Sen. Kirk contends the bill wouldn’t do that.


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