Ga. rep: I’m not discriminating against gay brother

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A powerful Republican in the Georgia House said that although he doesn't want to see his gay brother face discrimination, he supports anti-gay “religious freedom” legislation and the state's gay marriage ban.

State Rep. Allen Peake, a Macon Republican who on Monday lost his race to become majority leader, talked about his conflicting views in an interview with WMAZ's “Close Up.” (Watch above)

“This has been a very difficult issue and one that’s tough to address. I have a gay brother and I love him dearly and will love him ’til the day he dies, and I want to make sure that he never is discriminated against for his sexual orientation.”

“But I also want to balance the fact that there are those who have a religious conviction that ought to allow them to not be involved in an activity that would violate that religious conviction. That's a fine balance that has to be taken.”

Peake's brother Merwin, a corporate recruiter for TrueBridge Resources, testified during a March 24 hearing for state Sen. Josh McKoon's controversial “religious freedom” bill. Merwin Peake spoke out against the bill and warned that the legislation would give pause to progressive companies looking to move employees to Georgia.

“I would hate to see a company like Apple not decide to move to Georgia because they feel like their employees would be discriminated against,” Merwin Peake said. “A bill like this would give people a license to discriminate because of their own religious beliefs.”

“Those companies are going to take pause if they think that there is a state law that allows any of their employees to be discriminated against. That’s why this bill is bad for Georgia,” he added.

Rep. Peake was a co-sponsor of Rep. Sam Teasley's “religious freedom” bill in the House before it was tabled in March to make way for McKoon's legislation, which stalled after conservative Republicans fought an attempt to add LGBT protections to it. 

After the taping with WMAZ, Peake further described how he wouldn't want his brother to face discrimination by telling the station that he does not support gay marriage and that such unions should only be between a man and woman. 

Such brotherly love.

Peake's comments come as the Georgia GOP is expected to discuss “religious freedom” legislation during its convention in Athens on Friday, according to the AJC. Georgia Republicans for the Future placed an ad in the Athens Banner-Herald calling for LGBT protections in the legislation, something Gov. Nathan Deal has also said he wants in the bill. McKoon repeatedly denounced attempts to add LGBT protections to his bill.

Peake's full interview with WMAZ's “Close Up” airs at noon on Saturday.


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