At this moment in the State of Georgia, as a business owner and a private citizen, you have the right to say “no” to just about anything.
For a few more minutes, anyway.
I am going to put aside the specifics of Georgia’s recently vetoed Religious Liberty Bill (HB 757), also known as the Free Exercise Protection Act, because clearly, most of those mouthing off on it don’t understand it to begin with.
Check out the Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s statement when word of the veto came down: “We applaud Governor Nathan Deal for his courage in vetoing HB 757. In doing so, the Governor confirmed that there is no place in Georgia for legislation perceived as allowing for discrimination.”
You damn skippy!
The reality of the bill, what it meant, who was protected and why, really doesn’t matter. It was perceived to be a problem, and perceived to be discrimination, and as such, it had to go!
Dear Lord protect us from ourselves! (And by “Lord” I mean a generalized supreme being, non-gender specific, of no particular religious denomination, race, ethnicity or region. Solid, liquid or gas.)
In my post-veto interview with GA District 121 State Rep. Barry Fleming, his explanation as to why the bill was necessary was pretty simple: conservatives in the state wanted to make sure certain liberal city governments, such as we have in place in Atlanta, would not pass local legislation forbidding “discrimination” based on conflicting religious beliefs between customers and business owners.
I get that and, yes, I support HB 757 as it pertains to that issue. Of course I express that support within the same framework that also enforces current anti-discrimination language in place at the federal level.
“Ed” is a dear friend of many years, and a professional photographer living in the Atlanta metro area. He deplores discrimination of any kind, and is such an open-minded liberal it is a wonder his brain doesn’t fall out. He despised HB 757 and what it represented, and he praised the Deal veto.
While Ed may be open minded, he is not insane, and he displays a quite liberal amount of disgust with members of NAMBLA, the Nazi Party and necrophiliacs, in general. I asked Ed if any of those groups were to approach him to shoot next year’s promotional calendar for their respective organizations, how he would legally refuse them if he were not allowed to object to their activities, based on his moral beliefs.
His answer? He would lie. He said he would tell them, “I am booked.”
Sorry Ed, that ain’t gonna fly. Please understand my sweet, dear, liberal buddy, that once a governmental entity has removed to right to refuse business based on religious objection, moral and ethical objections fly right out the window as well. Equal protection and all.
Keep in mind, all of this pertains to private businesses and individuals only. The Supreme Court has already said that government and civil services cannot and will not be withheld based on religious objection.
It is my sincere belief that the Georgia’s ill-fated House Bill 757 would fare much, much better, even if left materially intact next year, if it were renamed, The Saying No to Nazis, Necrophiliacs and NAMBLA Act of 2017. This bill would guarantee the right of any private business to refuse service to any individual or group with which they have legitimate moral, ethical or religious conflict of interest. By naming those groups as examples, what sane politician would stand against such a thing?
A Jewish caterer says no to providing cupcakes to a Nazi Party party. Who can argue that?
The local amusement park refusing to allow NAMBLA Celebration Day 2017. Makes perfect sense.
Or your favorite mortician refusing to perform the funeral for the head of America’s largest association of necrophiliacs. I agree completely.
If those examples pass muster in your mind, understand that a local fundamentalist Christian or Muslim business should be able to refuse participation in an event celebrating homosexuality. It is their right. Or it should be. Just as we have demonstrated above.
I predict HB 757 will be back next year, and if they package it as described above, it will pass with flying colors.