Anti-gay businesses get protections under newly proposed bill

Remember the concerns by many that Republicans would launch an assault on marriage equality once the 2016 legislative session started? It only took until Day Three of the session to confirm those fears.

State Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) has introduced House Bill 756, which would allow business owners to refuse service to same-sex couples. The AJC has the story:

Florists, bakers or any other private business owner could refuse service to gay couples getting married in Georgia, under legislation filed Wednesday that is likely to inflame the battle at the Capitol over religious freedom and gay rights.

House Bill 756 would allow business owners to cite religious beliefs in refusing goods or services for a “matrimonial ceremony” — a blunt assessment of conservatives’ outrage after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June state prohibitions on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.

The bill represents the worst fears of gay rights advocates and others who have fought the last two years against other so-called religious liberty legislation.

And that wasn’t a typo on who introduced the bill. Indeed that is the same Kevin Tanner who earlier in the day filed a Pastor’s Protection Act bill that would ensure that faith leaders would not be forced to perform same-sex weddings.

And any day now, state Sen. Greg Kirk (R-Americus) will be introducing his state version of the First Amendment Defense Act, which would protect businesses and public employees who object to gay marriage on religious grounds.

Settle in, folks. It’s going to be a long couple months.