As the Georgia House of Representatives session remains in full swing, a new bill proposal has turned some heads.
House Bill 1023, or the Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, proposes a change in how religious freedom is expressed. If passed, Georgians would be allowed to use religious expression as an excuse to supersede laws that they feel infringe upon this. Opponents of the bill, with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) groups the most vocal, believe the bill makes it legal to discriminate.
Similar proposals have caused uproar in states like Kansas and New Mexico, both of which did not pass through the legislature. However, with a similar version passing in Arizona, some fear that it might have a strong chance in Georgia as well.
Adreanna Natteil is a senior English major at UGA. She is a lesbian, and feels that the new proposed bill would be “hateful and discriminatory” towards not only LGBT citizens, but other minorities too. She thinks that this bill could open the door for people to oppress minorities by simply saying they conflict with the oppressor’s religious beliefs. Natteil recounted times when her friends have been denied service at restaurants and other establishments because they are gay, and she’s afraid of where it might go from here.
“I’m just wondering what things people would think of and what they’d suddenly be able to do.”
While Natteil fears the worst, proponents of the bill claim it is just about ensuring religious freedoms for citizens in all Georgia.
The bill is awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives in Atlanta. If it passes, it will have to go through the Senate before becoming a law.
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