Clergy Come Together To Denounce 'Religious Freedom' Bill That Would Legalize Anti-Gay Discrimination

Georgia is once again considering a “religious liberty” bill that many fear would allow business owners to discriminate against LGBT Georgians and others they claim they cannot serve due to their own religious convictions. The bill was floated last year, but faced a backlash of opposition from local businesses and gay rights activists, and was defeated in the last days of the session.

During the renewed push for the bill, it faces new adversaries: a diverse group of faith leaders who say the bill does not represent their own religious values, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Religious leaders and a state senator came together Tuesday morning to denounce the so-called “religious freedom” bills being introduced in the state legislature.

“As faith leaders from diverse traditions, we believe freedom of religion is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans, but religious freedom does not give any of us the right to harm or exclude others,” reads a letter signed by a diverse group of dozens of clergy from around the state.

“No one asked the faith community if we wanted this bill,” Rabbi Peter Berg said at the press conference at the state Capitol. “Nobody asked the rabbis and the priests and the imams and the ministers about a religious freedom bill.” […]

State Sen. Nan Orrock believes a national group is behind the proposal of such bills in Georgia and across the country, but did not specify one in particular.

“Whenever you see legislation cropping up like this in state after state, it’s an effort to create an impression that there’s a public demand for this bill, which is false,” she said. “It no doubt has some coordination and some collaboration.”

Both the Senate and House sponsors for the bill did not attend the event promoting it—perhaps a sign they realize there is growing opposition to the measure.

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