Georgia Passes Pro-Religious Bigotry Bill

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Sorta transcript:

You may recall that last year, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to allow businesses to actively prevent their female employees from accessing necessary healthcare if the people running those businesses held misogynistic religious beliefs. That was fun. As with any Supreme Court case, it set an important precedent, and now we’re seeing the horrific results in Georgia, where lawmakers are about to enact a bill that will allow any individual or business to discriminate against anyone so long as that discrimination is based on a “sincerely held” belief.

And since we already know that religious texts like the Bible can be read any way you want, that is a huge can of worms.

The language in the bill is so vague that it offers up some truly hilarious/depressing situations that could arise in the state, like:

A firefighter choosing to not put out your house fire because you eat shellfish (Leviticus 11:10).

A paramedic choosing to not give you CPR because you are divorced.

A prisoner claiming his sincerely held religion is one that mandates freedom for all adherents — oh wait, that’s the one situation this bill does account for. It doesn’t apply to prisoners. Moving on:

A pharmacist choosing to not give you life-saving cancer treatment because you’re pregnant and it may harm your fetus.

A clergyman at a tax-exempt church choosing to not marry you because you’re black and your partner is white.

An adoption agency choosing to not allow you to be adopted because the people who want you are gay.

Gosh at some point these examples stopped being funny but I’m not sure where.

Georgians are protesting the bill, some by moving their entire companies to another state, as with small tech company 373K, or by asking the companies they work with to sign statements promising they won’t take advantage of the new bill to discriminate against others, as with the large sci-fi and fantasy convention DragonCon. I’ve been critical of DragonCon in the past due to the horrific crimes allegedly committed by their founder, but it seems as though booting that founder from the organization has been good for them.

Let’s hope Georgia’s politicians wake up and realize it’s 2016 — people who cling to religion as a way to justify their bigotry no longer have a place in respectful society, let alone in our government.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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  1. February 27, 2016 at 7:49 pm —

    Got to love that it doesn’t apply to prisoners. Almost certainly because of another Supreme Court ruling, which used the federal law to order prison officials to allow a muslim convict to keep a quarter-inch beard.

  2. February 27, 2016 at 8:20 pm —

    I moved from Atlanta a week and a half ago and this got passed just about the time I made it across the state line. It’s been helpful in preventing any homesickness.

  3. February 27, 2016 at 9:32 pm —

    I wonder if this applies to a warden who refuses to handover a prisoner who would be executed?

  4. February 29, 2016 at 2:04 am —

    It’s a shame I don’t live in Georgia, because I sincerely believe that old white men ruin the neighbourhood.

  5. February 29, 2016 at 1:18 pm —

    “A clergyman at a tax-exempt church choosing to not marry you because you’re black and your partner is white.”

    Clergy can decline to marry any two people for any religious reason anywhere in the US under the 1st Amendment. I don’t think that decision would impact the church’s tax exemption.

    • March 3, 2016 at 3:05 pm —

      Neither Loving nor Obergefell changes that, to my knowledge. Especially since you can always find someone to fill that niche.

      What Obergefell does establish, however, is that the government must recognize same-sex marriages. (And it’ll be interesting to see how Kim Davis is dealt with and compare it to how a dealer or bookie who converts to Islam is dealt with.)

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