The Georgia General Assembly yesterday passed the Free Exercise Protection Act which contains wide-ranging religious freedom protections including those for churches, religious institutions, and businesses.
5.The bill enacts RFRA language. The government may not substantially burden a person’s religious exercise, except in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest that is furthered by the least restrictive means. This provision, however is limited by several exceptions, including a provision that the RFRA language shall not be construed to “permit invidious discrimination on any grounds prohibited by federal or state law.” It should be noted that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity are not prohibited by Georgia law, or by federal law as traditionally interpreted.
6.The bill waives sovereign immunity for suits seeking injunctive or declaratory relief or reasonable attorney’s fees in various suits against the state under the statute.
Republican Gov. Nathan Deal has vowed to veto any bills that allow for what he calls discrimination because Jesus.
“What the New Testament teaches us is that Jesus reached out to those who were considered the outcasts, the ones that did not conform to the religious societies’ view of the world … We do not have a belief in my way of looking at religion that says we have to discriminate against anybody. If you were to apply those standards to the teaching of Jesus, I don’t think they fit.”
It seems to me that Deal has chosen politics over religion.