The next legislative session doesn’t start until Jan. 11, but those looking for an appetizer of what’s to come can get it as the Georgia lawyer chapter of the American Constitution Society hosts a Jan. 6 debate on Senate Bill 129, the so-called “religious freedom” bill set to be introduced for a third straight year.
The debate, “Religious Freedom or Discrimination: Does Georgia Need RFRA?,” will take place at the law firm of Bondurant Mixson & Elmore in Midtown and will include state Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus), Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham, state Rep. Taylor Bennett (D-Brookhaven) and Emory University law professor Sasha Volokh. The event is free and open to the public.
McKoon of course is the author of SB129 and Graham has been leading the charge against a state RFRA (Religious Freedom and Restoration Act) on behalf of Georgia Equality these last two sessions. Bennett is the political newcomer and former Georgia Tech quarterback who pulled off an upset by winning the special election for House District 80 in August. He made his opposition to RFRA a centerpiece of his campaign, citing the discrimination he feared his lesbian sister and mother could face. The debate will be moderated by Atlanta Journal-Consitution political reporter Greg Bluestein.
The bill passed in the Senate but stalled in a House committee in March after an anti-discrimination clause was added. Several powerful Republican lawmakers said earlier this month that the bill must have anti-discrimination language in it for them to support it, and last week over 200 Georgia faith leaders signed a petition in opposition to the bill.
Religious Freedom or Discrimination: Does Georgia Need RFRA?
Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2015
Reception: 6 p.m., Debate: 6:30 p.m.
Bondurant Mixson & Elmore
1201 W. Peachtree Street NW, Suite 3200