A former U.S. Justice Department’s analysis of this year’s ‘religious liberty’ bill

Greg Kirk-R celebrates the passage of HB 757 in the Senate on Friday. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

Greg Kirk-R celebrates the passage of HB 757 in the Senate on Friday. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

Last year, Georgia Equality put former attorney general Michael Bowers on retainer and sat him in front of a legislative committee, where he denounced SB 129, a “religious liberty” bill authored by state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus.

This year, the LGBT advocacy group has hired Joe Whitley, a former federal prosecutor and U.S. Department of Justice official under the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, to examine the two facets of HB 757, this year’s religious liberty vehicle.

Absent a committee hearing, we’re told that the document below has been handed to Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston. From Whitley’s conclusion:

After surveying this piece of legislation, I note that in the name of tolerance, this legislation likely will cause more in the way of intolerance for those whose private marital and family relationships may be disfavored by a particular faith. Georgia does not need to enact a law such as this to maintain the freedom of religion or protect deeply held religious beliefs, which the Constitution and Bill of Rights already protect.

Moreover, no person should have religious beliefs imposed on them without their consent. While I am sympathetic to the fact that a number of my fellow citizens have been led to believe that their personal beliefs are unprotected absent such legislation, as I have shown, this is simply not the case. Instead, passage of the Act likely would lead to real harm to many people, as well as to our State and its reputation.

You can read his analysis here:


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