“HB 87 is deeply flawed legislation that will be challenged in the federal court system. Absent a federal injunction, our groups will work to ensure Latino and immigrant civil rights are protected in our state should HB 87 be fully implemented in our state.
“However, Georgia is our home and we do want our state to progress and develop. HB87 will make our efforts much more difficult, but as good-hearted Georgians, we will stand together to make Georgia a better place for all of us, including Latinos and immigrants. Georgia is home to almost 900,000 Latinos and thousands of immigrants; it is where we live, work, and play. A boycott would devastate Georgias tourism and convention industry. Many Latinos and immigrants depend on this, and other industries, for their livelihood.
“Certainly, there is much fear and anxiety within the immigrant community. However, the intention of HB87 was also to spread fear in order to drive immigrants away from Georgia. We ask our community members to reject that fear and to remain informed and educated about the pending legal process.”
Other LGBT-led organizations, such as Southerners on New Ground, which also opposed the legislation, are supporting boycotts of the state as well as partnering with SOMOS Georgia to ask local businesses, organizations and places of worship to sign up as “safe zones” and “Buy Spots.”
Lesbian-owned Charis Books & More up as the first business to be a Buy Spot and “Sanctuary Zone” as part of a new movement titled “We Are Georgia.” As a safe zone and Buy Spot, the business is letting Gov. Nathan Deal it will not comply with the law and will work with other groups to overturn the law.
Gay-owned Radial Cafe also signed with “We Are Georgia” on as well as the queer alternative fest Mondo Homo. Other groups serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community that have signed on in recent days include GetEQUAL GA, the Queer Justice League, Gentle Spirit Christian Church and Decatur United Church of Christ.
Southerners on New Ground and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force joined Latino and labor organizations as well as other human rights groups in calling for a national boycott of Georgia if Deal signed the bill into law. Deal signed the legislation May 13.
The NGLTF sent a letter to Gov. Deal asking him to veto the bill and informing him that if he signed the bill into law, its annual Creating Change conference planned for Atlanta in 2013 would be located in another state.
Top photo: Jerry Gonzalez, the openly gay executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, says his organization won’t support boycotts of Georgia after the passage of HB 87. He’s pictured here at the Rally for Truth at the State Capitol in March. (by Dyana Bagby)