Georgia's Nifty 'Religious Freedom' Law Might Protect KKK's Sacred Right To Do Klan Stuff
And Moses invests, hahaha!
[contextly_sidebar id="XpeIOnmtqTwsAlFwkXWdbOu88NQWZv7a"]The Georgia state Senate passed an absurdly broad "religious freedom" law Friday on a 38-14 vote, sending a revised version of the bill back to the House, where it is expected to pass as well. Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign the bill into law. There's just something about Georgia's Good Christian Lawmakers who love to protect the right to hate in God's name.
The law would not only give Christians the right to refuse service to gays and lesbians; Americans United for Separation of Church and State warns the measure would allow any individual or business "to ignore any law that conflicts with their religious beliefs about marriage." While most of the debate about the bill focused on protecting bakers from ever having to bake a penis cake for a gay wedding, the language is broad enough to also permit the refusal of service to mixed-race couples, divorced people, single parents, or fornicators, as long as you seriously believe the Hairy Thunderer or Cosmic Muffin commands you to discriminate.
In a bit of Frankenstein surgery, the state Senate grafted together the "Pastor Protection Act," which would guarantee ministers wouldn't have to perform same-sex marriages (a right they already have under the First Amendment) with the "First Amendment Defense Act," which would guarantee tax-funded groups to deny services to gays and lesbians. This is clearly what the First Amendment is all about.
In debate on the bill Friday, state Sen. Emanuel Jones asked the bill's sponsor, Sen. Greg Kirk, if perhaps the KKK could claim it was protected as a religious organization. Well sure, maybe, Kirk acknowledged, but it's not like the bill was intended to help the KKK:
I'm not an attorney, I don't know. I guess they could, Senator. I'm not sure. I don’t know what would stop them.
When Jones asked if "religious" protection for the Klan seemed like it might be the teensiest bit problematic, Kirk didn't see why it would:
certainly isn’t directed towards them; it's directed towards churches, and towards ministers, and towards organizations that provide adoptions, and towards organizations that provide help to the homeless, and so forth
[contextly_sidebar id="Oh3Mxz6hwNP9tNxnbiiX2VtF7HjCGc3k"]You know, the nice decent folks who'll discriminate for good Christian reasons against people who do sinful things with their tingly parts, not nasty old hate groups who discriminate for bad reasons. Although, sure, they might could benefit some, too. And then, to prove he's all about equality, Sen. Kirk somehow suggested his bill would very generously protect the right of Beyoncé to wiggle her booty in "tribute to the Black Panthers" at the Super Bowl. If nothing else, the NFL should be glad to see the Super Bowl recognized as a religious institution.
In response to the state's official embrace of discrimination, Georgia businesses are making the same kinds of nervous noises about losing money and jobs that have led other states to abandon or modify similar laws. Kelvin Williams, CEO of Decatur-based telecom business 373k, announced Friday he'd had enough of Georgia's nonsense, and so he'd be moving his company's headquarters and most of its 20 staff to Nevada instead. Williams told Slate's Mark Joseph Stern he spent Friday watching the Senate debate "in disbelief," and once the bill passed, he tweeted he was done:
Williams explained why he decided to vote with his feet and his corporate taxes:
If we stayed, we would be funding Georgia’s hate. For every dollar that we make, the state of Georgia gets some. As a black, gay male, I don’t feel good funding hate. I’ve never done it, and I’m not going to start now. We’re gonna make it known that we don’t appreciate it. We’re leaving and taking our tax dollars with us.
He said he'd decided on Nevada as the new location for 373k because it had the most progressive laws on LGBT rights of the states he'd researched (no word on whether he'd heard of Michele Fiore). Some operations will remain in Decatur, but the corporate headquarters and tax bux go to Nevada.
As for other Georgia-based companies, says Williams, he hopes they'll send a message, too:
[We] understand that big Georgia corporations like Delta and Coca-Cola can’t just up and move. They’re not as nimble as we are. But they can come out publicly and say, this is bullshit, Georgia. And because Republicans love money, hopefully when those big companies come out and say something, that will knock some sense into them. Republicans need to see that most companies just won’t tolerate this crap.
We like this Kelvin Williams guy. In an email conversation with Yr. Wonkette, Mr. Willams said "Feel free to add that I said this is batshit crazy, and the stupid fucks/folks need to adjust their wall calendars up about 200 damn years."
[contextly_sidebar id="RUKZBILLoCYb40iahWla1N5U5UJMfuN3"]Meanwhile, Gov. Nathan Deal said Monday that the legislation is "not finalized yet," reflecting the familiar dance we saw in Indiana and Arkansas when those states realized losing business wasn't worth protecting the pretended rights of bigots. Wouldn't want that pretty "Filmed in Georgia" logo to disappear from the credits of The Walking Dead, after all.
Still, this being Georgia, it may well be that the desire to stick it to Big Gay will outweigh economic sense. At least, maybe until Co'Cola says it's giving some thought to shopping around for a friendlier place for its world headquarters.
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