COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Georgia Senate passed a bill known as the "Religious Liberty" bill that would allow groups or businesses to deny service to same sex couples if those groups can cite they hold strong beliefs that only traditional marriage should be recognized.
The bill would still have to pass the state House and be signed by Governor Deal to become law.
But Deal himself thinks the bill is largely unnecessary - and we agree.
Deal says that Georgia does not need to put in place any legislation that would, in his words, "allow or encourage discrimination." Deal wants supporters of the bill to, quote, "take a deep breath and realize the world around us has changed."
Supporters of the bill say faith-based groups deserve protection from having to act against their core beliefs and they see this bill as a proper rebuke to the US Supreme Court's ruling legalizing gay marriage.
Deal's point is that we can and should respect everyone's religious freedom without having to enact new legislation to do it.
Indeed, our country was founded on the principle of religious freedom - that's why the Pilgrims sought out a new homeland.
Powerful business interests, like the growing and profitable film industry in Georgia, say they will pull their dollars out of the state if the bill becomes law.
That kind of economic blow would certainly hurt and we don’t want that to happen. But that's not the reason we don't need the "Religious Liberty" bill.
Plenty of anti-discrimination laws are already on the books that protect all of us from the most vile acts of discrimination.
This new bill may make some conservatives feel they are being heard.
But being tolerant of others' rights, while holding true to your faith and exercising your own rights, is how the country was set up 240 years ago and it can still work today.
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