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The Human Element: Raquel Willis on finding empowerment in her gender identity Raquel Willis ~ Atlanta, Georgia
Newest Anti-Gay Bill Opens Same-Sex Couples & Families to Wide Swath of Discrimination January 20, 2016

ATLANTA – Sen. Greg Kirk (R-Americus) has introduced a bill that would expose legally married same-sex couples and their families to an unprecedented degree of discrimination from the people, institutions and businesses Georgians interact with each and every day. The bill, which Kirk insists is modeled on the federal First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), is in reality much more sweeping in scope than its federal counterpart.

The bill includes an extraordinarily broad definition of the term ‘person,’ clearing the way for any individual or business – public or private – to discriminate against same-sex couples and their children. The bill also would protect government contractors and non-profits which receive government funding – meaning Georgians could legally face discrimination from organizations their own tax dollars fund.

Jeff Graham released the following statement through Georgia Unites:

“Sen. Kirk’s legislation flouts the rule of law, and I believe all Georgians understand how important it is that we acknowledge and follow the laws that govern our society. This legislation sets a dangerous precedent – we can’t pick and choose which laws we want to follow based on our personal beliefs.

“This bill not only exposes married same-sex couples and their children in Georgia to harm, but it risks imperiling our state’s economy. The Metro Atlanta Chamber warned last month that bills opening up gay and transgender people to discrimination could harm our state’s economy by $1 billion dollars. And just today, a new report out of Indiana illustrated the damage done to the state’s reputation following the enactment of an overly broad exemptions bill there last year.

“This isn’t a bill that Georgia needs right now – it’s bad for our families and it’s bad for our businesses. It’s time for us to talk about how we can respect and protect all Georgians – including both people of faith and gay and transgender people.”

This is the latest in a series of anti-gay bills circulating in the state legislature. Last week, Rep. Kevin Tanner introduced a bill with the similar goal of allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBT people. And State Sen. Josh McKoon remains committed to advancing his harmful and unnecessary religious exemptions bill this session.

*This release was corrected on 1/21/16

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We were so grateful to be able to profile Rachel last year. Her story is inspiring and it's sad to see her treated unfairly. Thank you Rachel for standing up for yourself!

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