LGBTQ

Georgia Women Arrested Protesting Bill That Would Let Employers Fire Women Who've Had An Abortion

If the bill passes, the state could see a new wave of discrimination similar to Jim Crow.

In several states, Republican lawmakers are sponsoring bills that would allow employers to use “religious liberty” as an excuse to do whatever they want – including discriminate against customers or employees on the basis of religion.

Georgia's version of this religious liberty bill has already passed the state senate, but is running into trouble in the house, where even the speaker, a Republican, has expressed skepticism about the legislation.

Progressive activists in the state are leaving nothing to chance, realizing that if the bill passes, the state could see a new wave of discrimination similar to Jim Crow-style restrictions on African Americans. Some women's organizations are particularly concerned that right-wing employers could, for example, fire women who've had abortions.

On Monday, four women – Megan Harrison, Lorraine Fontana, Emma Stitt, and Jessica Reznicek – sought an audience with the bill's chief Senate sponsor, Republican Josh McKoon. Not only were the four women denied a meeting with McKoon, they were arrested.

The American Friends Service Committee shared a few photos of the arrests:

Four women sought an audience with the bill's chief Senate sponsor, Republican Josh McKoon. Not only were the four women denied a meeting with McKoon, they were arrested.
Photo Credit: 
American Friends Service Committee

Four women sought an audience with the bill's chief Senate sponsor, Republican Josh McKoon. Not only were the four women denied a meeting with McKoon, they were arrested.
Photo Credit: 
American Friends Service Committee

Four women sought an audience with the bill's chief Senate sponsor, Republican Josh McKoon. Not only were the four women denied a meeting with McKoon, they were arrested.
Photo Credit: 
American Friends Service Committee

 

At least two of the women – Emma Stitt and Jessice Reznicek -- have decided to refuse bond for now, saying they will stay in prison until the bill is defeated.

The arrests come as new information has come to light about McKoon's own deeply anti-gay ministry. Georgia Voice has the scoop:

McKoon is listed as the registered agent for Chaplain Paul Voorhees Ministries, Inc. Voorhees,the host of “Ranger Joe’s God & Country” radio show in Columbus, routinely posts racist and homophobic messages on his Facebook page, including an image of him with fellow speakers at a north Georgia college holding homophobic signs, another image of a heterosexual couple holding hands with the words “Straight Pride”and Voorhees commenting “gay life is like an acting role with a used barf bag,” and an image of the atomic bomb that the United States dropped over the Japanese city of Nagasaki in 1945with Voorhees calling the victims “rice krispies.

In other posts, Voorhees appears to compare an African-American looter to President Obama and posts an image showing the Devil supporting same-sex marriage.

McKoon appears deadset on pushing his bill while at the same time claiming that it does not create a legal environment for more discrimination. His ties to a deeply bigoted ministry and his own refusal to meet with critics seems to show that he may not be as trustworthy as he wants you to believe.

Zaid Jilani is an AlterNet staff writer. Follow @zaidjilani on Twitter.

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