‘Religious freedom’ bill co-sponsor opens up about gay brother

During a taping of WMAZ’s Close-Up program this week, state Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) talked about the difficulty of backing a so-called “religious freedom” bill that could open up the door to more LGBT discrimination when he himself has a gay brother.

“This has been a very difficult issue and one that’s tough to address,” Peake said. “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’s never discriminated against for his sexual orientation.”

However despite that statement, Peake told WMAZ after the taping that he doesn’t not support same-sex marriage.

He also said he does not want legislation that would require religious people to be involved in activities that would violate their beliefs. Peake was the co-sponsor on the House version of the bill.

Merwin Peake, a senior advisor for Atlanta talent recruitment firm True Bridge Resources, testified against the bill at a March 24 House subcommittee meeting.

“I’m a recruiter and I’m really concerned that this law is going to keep companies from thinking about moving to Atlanta,” Peake told the Georgia Voice before the meeting. “It’s going to be difficult to recruit people, particularly people that are gay. I think they’re going to be worried that they might not be able to eat in a restaurant or get their wedding cake done the way they want. The main thing I want to emphasize is the negative economic impact. I see it. I’m on the front lines of trying to recruit people to Atlanta.”

State Sen. Josh McKoon’s (R-Columbus) bill failed for the second year in a row, but he has vowed to reintroduce it in the next session. Here’s a timeline of how this year’s fight went down.