Former U.S. official: HB 757 ‘would lead to real harm to many people’
Meet Joe Whitley, this year’s Michael Bowers. Bowers, you’ll recall, is the former Georgia Attorney General that Georgia Equality hired last year to do an analysis of SB 129, state Sen. Josh McKoon’s (R-Columbus) so-called “religious freedom” bill.
This year, the group hired Whitley, a former federal prosecutor and U.S. Justice Department official, to do an analysis of HB 757, the anti-gay hybrid “religious freedom” bill that has created a national backlash.
Whitley delivered his analysis to the offices of Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston on Feb. 24. He denounced the name of the anti-gay language inserted into the bill, saying, “As an initial matter, I note the contradiction that HB757’s drafters have deemed it the ‘Georgia First Amendment Defense Act.’ As you are no doubt aware, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution needs no legislative ‘defense,’” said Whitley.
Whitley reserved the bulk of his analysis to slam the bill for permitting discrimination and denying of equal protection under the law. He says passage of HB 757 “would lead to real harm to many people.”