Increased scrutiny and growing opposition from corporations and LGBT activists has helped kill a second state "religious freedom" bill, this one in the Georgia Senate.
Senate Bill 377, sponsored by Sen. Josh McKoon, has been tabled or pulled from Senate consideration, according to media reports. The measure faced growing scrutiny after opposition helped kill a similar measure in the state House.
On Wednesday, WSB reported that the Senate measure had been pulled from the Senate floor.
The AJC also reported that the measure appeared dead.
On Wednesday, two bills with “religious freedom” in their titles – measures that required only a simple majority – cratered in the face of critics who said the legislation would permit businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians.
One of the bills is dead, and the other was tabled — and is likely dead. Give some credit to Delta Air Lines’ loud declaration that that the bills would violate the company’s “core values of mutual respect and dignity.” Home Depot followed with its own condemnation, as did Coke and many other corporations.
And Cathy Woolard, a longtime gay politico and lobbyist for Georgia Equality, said neither bill was scheduled for legislative action on Monday, which is Crossover Day, according to the GA Voice. If neither measure passes a floor vote on Monday, they are likely dead for this legislative session.
“Friends, as of close of business today neither HB 1023 nor SB 377 are on the calendar for crossover day. The general assembly is out until Monday. It ain’t over til it’s over but this is as good as it can get right now. Many thanks to all of you who shared posts, came down, made calls, volunteered to testify on late notice. Maggie Garrett from Americans United for Separation of Church and State flew down on a moment’s notice twice to help. And Shelley Senterfitt, all around great ally, was in the trenches the whole way. And please thank the business community, our chamber of commerce leadership, democratic caucuses and many republican leaders who understood the terrible implications for Georgia and Georgians if these were to pass. Nothing is finished until it is finished. But this weekend we have some thank you letters to write. And first on the list to thank is Jeff Graham and Georgia Equality for being vigilant and leading the charge. What a week!”
LGBT activists flooded a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing at the State Capitol on Monday. Critics of the bills say they could open the door to anti-gay discrimination, but state Rep. Sam Teasley, its sponsor, dismissed those concerns as red herrings and said that's not the intent of the legislation.
Opposition included an emotional statement from state Rep. Simone Bell, one of the state's three openly gay lawmakers. Atlanta-based companies, including Delta and IHG, also came out against the measures.