The 2016–2017 legislative session was a turning point for LGBT non-discrimination in Georgia.
Lawmakers introduced a record 5 pieces of legislation that addressed the fact that Georgia has no statewide civil rights laws, including 3 LGBT-inclusive bills—the first time in history a comprehensive, LGBT-inclusive civil rights bill has been introduced in Georgia.
Even more groundbreaking was the fact that 3 of these 5 pieces of legislation were bipartisan in nature. House Bills 627 and 629, sponsored by Republican Rep. Rich Golick, were steps in the right direction in that they tackled employment and public accommodations discrimination.
Unfortunately, they didn’t go far enough. HB 627 lacked protections for transgender Georgians, and HB 629 lacked protections for all LGBT Georgians. Georgia Unites, however, is committed to continuing to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to ensure that comprehensive and inclusive civil rights legislation advance.
— Georgia Unites (@GeorgiaUnites) March 15, 2017
The third bipartisan bill, House Resolution 404—co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Wendell Willard—is an LGBT-inclusive bill that would establish a bicameral study committee tasked with exploring the need for LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination laws in Georgia. This is an opportunity for LGBT Georgians to stand before lawmakers and tell them, face-to-face, their experiences with discrimination and to testify in support of inclusive non-discrimination protections.
— Georgia Unites (@GeorgiaUnites) February 9, 2017
The two other pieces of legislation, Senate Bill 119 and House Bill 488, would write LGBT-inclusive civil rights protections into Georgia law, ensuring that LGBT Georgians would be protected from discrimination in housing, employment and public places, like restaurants.
These bills, taken together, represent an historic shift for the state of Georgia. Last year, we had our hands full playing defense, fighting off 8 anti-LGBT bills, including the infamous license to discriminate, House Bill 757. That bill was ultimately vetoed by Governor Nathan Deal—but this year, anti-LGBT bills couldn’t even advance through the legislature, let alone to the Governor’s desk.
And because HR 404, HB 488 and SB 119 are still eligible for consideration, we’ll be starting the 2017–2018 legislative session on another historic note: Working to pass a comprehensive, LGBT-inclusive civil rights bill from the get-go.SHARE THIS STORY