Georgia’s religious freedom bill: mixed bag, missed opportunity


The Georgia Senate passed a religious freedom bill that critics say will allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT persons on the basis of sexual orientation. The bill is a combination of the Pastors Protection Act, which protects clergy from being forced to perform same-sex marriages, and the First Amendment Defense Act, which would allow taxpayer-funded organizations to deny goods and services to gays and lesbians. Georgia's governor Nathan Deal could sign the bill into law as early as next week. But a new study of Georgians' attitudes on the matter shows that most residents of the Southern state are opposed to at least part of the bill. Roughly 66 percent of Georgia residents say that LGBT persons should be protected against discrimination in the workplace, public accommodations, and housing. This includes a majority of both Republicans and Democrats.