Georgia lawmakers striking back against same-sex marriage ruling
State Senator Greg Kirk (R-Americus) has officially become the face of Georgia’s opposition to same-sex marriage, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reports that the former Southern Baptist pastor plans to introduce legislation that would protect businesses and public employees who object to marriage equality on religious grounds.
“The legislation has yet to be filed with the clerk of the Senate,” wrote the AJC on Dec. 31. “Reached by phone in Americus, Senator Kirk said his measure was still being tweaked, but he confirmed that one aim would be to protect local and state employees with religious objections to gay marriage.”
The bill is basically a state version of the First Amendment Defense Act, a proposed federal measure that was introduced in June by Republican U.S. senators Mike Lee of Utah and Paul Labrador of Idaho. Local LGBT leaders are obviously not amused.
“That sounds like it would be legislation specifically designed to target the LGBT community,” Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality told the AJC. “That would be of great concern to me.”
And Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who’s been throwing red meat to evangelicals by touting his opposition to same-sex marriage in recent fundraising efforts in the run-up to his bid for governor in 2018, appears to be on board with it.
“We have received a copy of this legislation and are currently reviewing it in preparation for the upcoming session,” Lt. Gov. Cagle’s policy aide Irene Munn told the AJC. “Any legislation seeking to protect First Amendment freedoms deserves careful consideration and thoughtful debate. The lieutenant governor will work, in his role as presiding officer, to ensure that occurs.”
This all comes as the March 1 Republican presidential primary approaches, smack dab in the middle of the next legislative session. In other words, expect comments from Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and the other Republican candidates on this and other socalled “religious freedom” legislation as they stump across the state in the coming months.
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explore the issue in his upcoming documentary, “No Fats, No Femmes.”
“What motivated me most was the opportunity to amplify the voices and narratives of black and brown fat, femme, gender nonconforming, trans, and disabled folk, the opportunity to bring light to a subject that has been deliberately silenced for years,” Lewis tells Georgia Voice of the film, which he plans on releasing by summer 2017.
Lewis has started an Indiegogo campaign and has raised over $15,000 of a $20,000 goal at press time.
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Sen. Greg Kirk (R-Americus) is the latest politician to propose harmful anti-gay legislation. (Official photo)