Yesterday, HRC President Chad Griffin joined Georgia Unites Against Discrimination at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta to deliver more than 75,000 email petitions to Governor Nathan Deal in opposition to the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” (HB 757).
Georgia Unites Against Discrimination, a project of the Human Rights Campaign and Georgia Equality, has been on the ground, mobilizing supporters to fight back against HB 757 and eight other pieces of dangerous anti-LGBT legislation being considered by the legislature.
The 75,000 email petitions were the culmination of months of campaigning to stop legislation that promotes discrimination against LGBT Georgians under the guise of ‘religious freedom.’ HB 757, one of the most dangerous bills, would allow taxpayer-funded organizations to discriminate and refuse services to same-sex couples, among others.
Before the petition delivery, a press conference was held on the steps of the Georgia Capitol where HRC’s Griffin was joined by Georgia Equality’s Executive Director Jeff Graham, and Former State Representative and Regional Director of Lambda Legal Simone Bell.
“There is no religious freedom crisis in this country today...There is a freedom crisis for LGBT people,” said Griffin.
“Over the past few months, we’ve seen some legislators and organizations here in Georgia push for legislation that would open the door to discrimination against gay and transgender Georgians, unmarried couples, single parents and women,” said Graham.
“The only reason why Georgia would not pass a civil rights bill that includes those protections would be a lack of political will and courage, and a refusal to stand on the right side of history,” said Bell ending her remarks with a warning to legislators, “Georgia, the world is watching.”
After remarks, nearly 75 supporters, including clergy, business, and community leaders, marched to Governor Deal’s office and delivered over 30 boxes containing the 75,000 petitions in opposition to HB 757.
Following the petition delivery, Griffin was joined by Graham and Bell for a national press call with media outlets in which collectively, the coalition leaders called upon Governor Deal to show “true leadership” and veto HB 757 and other dangerous anti-LGBT legislation that would discriminate against LGBT Georgians and harm the economy if any of these bills reach his desk.