Uniting Against LGBT Discrimination in Georgia

Author: The Human Rights Campaign
Published: Thursday 26th February 2015
Summary: LGBT civil rights organization partners with Georgia Equality to stop discriminatory legislation and advance fairness and equality in Georgia.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, announced it is joining forces with Georgia Equality, an organization working to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for LGBT communities and allies throughout the state, for a project called "Georgia Unites Against Discrimination." Launched by Georgia Equality in January of this year, Georgia Unites Against Discrimination is a bipartisan grassroots campaign dedicated to protecting LGBT Georgians from discrimination and ensuring that individuals and businesses aren't able to use their religious beliefs to harm others.

"All Georgians deserve to be treated fairly and equally, including LGBT people," said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. "No one should be turned away from a business, denied service in a restaurant, or even evicted from their apartment simply because of who they are. When LGBT people walk into a business that's open to the public, they should be treated just like anyone else."

"We are so grateful to have HRC's partnership and support for this campaign," said Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham. "For too long, the south as a region has lacked the level of legal protection for LGBT individuals and families that other parts of our country enjoy. By joining forces, we can bring the change to Georgia that our state needs and deserves. "

Georgia Unites Against Discrimination is specifically focused on defeating discriminatory legislation in Georgia that would use religious language to undermine LGBT equality, as well as working to pass a bill protecting state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.‚Äč

Threatening fairness and equality in the state, the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act has officially been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, and Georgia lawmakers will soon consider and vote on this dangerous bill that would grant a "license to discriminate" against LGBT Georgians. The bill essentially allows individuals to use their religious beliefs to harm others, paving the way for challenges to virtually any law designed to protect Georgians from various forms of discrimination.

Working to advance equality, a bipartisan coalition of elected officials, led by Rep. Karla Drenner (D-85) and Wendell Willard (R-51), introduced the Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) legislation to prohibit discrimination against Georgia state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. A record-breaking 77 members of the General Assembly including 17 Republicans and 1 Independent have already signed on as cosponsors of this historic legislation.

In coordination with Georgia Equality, HRC Senior Regional Field Organizer Ryan Rowe will serve as the campaign's field director. Additionally, HRC will place five organizers in key areas of the state to organize faith leaders, small business leaders, and general community support. HRC Southern Regional Field Director Joe Saunders will work with the campaign and HRC's Workplace Project to harness the support of corporate allies.

For more information on Georgia Unites Against Discrimination, please visit www.georgiaunites.org

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Georgia Unites Against Discrimination is a bipartisan grassroots campaign dedicated to protecting gay and transgender Georgians from discrimination and ensuring that individuals and businesses aren't able to use their religious beliefs to harm others.

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