HB 757 presents religious liberty and potential economic fallout - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

HB 757 presents religious liberty and potential economic fallout for state

(Source: WTVM) (Source: WTVM)
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Weeks have passed since Georgia’s State Senate approved House Bill 757. 

It moved up from the State House with relative ease, and after amendments including newer language, legislators await Governor Nathan Deal’s decision on whether to sign it into law or veto it.   

HB 757 – better known as the "Pastor Protection Act" – introduces potential new laws that would allow pastors, churches and other faith-based organizations to refuse to perform a marriage for some groups, including LBGT couples, based on their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Jeremy Hobbs, director for COLGAY Pride of Columbus, said passing HB757 would not just negatively impact the LGBT community in Georgia; it may also lead to major economic consequences.

Major corporations, including Coca Cola, Apple, and the NFL have already voiced their opposition to HB 757, stating should companies decide to boycott Georgia, the state could experience an economic downturn.

“We have a lot of conventions here in Georgia,” Hobbs said. “They’ll stop coming as well. We’ve got to be attractive to all people; not just some.”

State Sen. Josh McKoon (R-29th District), who supports the bill in its current form, said this version of HB 757 includes most of the religious freedom previsions he wrote when he sponsored Senate Bill 129 earlier this year.

Currently, no laws in the state of Georgia protect LGBT citizens from certain types of discrimination, including employee discrimination.

McKoon said he's waited for citizens to provide him evidence of discrimination against the LGBT community.  

“Show us where this is occurring,” he said.

McKoon also said he believes this bill does not lessen the status of same-sex couples, who have been able to legally marry since the Supreme Court declared all same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional last June.

“All it does is it makes sure that the government is not going to punish people of faith,” McKoon said.

Some Columbus residents, including Matthew McCray and his wife Amy, said they agree with McKoon’s argument, in that those who practice their religion and lead congregations should not be forced to do anything that goes against their beliefs.

“I don’t think you should force a preacher to conduct a marriage he doesn’t believe in,” McCray said.

Hobbs said states which have recently passed similar religious freedom laws, such as Indiana in 2015, repel businesses from investing into the state economy, and stall progress for minority groups.

“Why are we always trying to punish citizens because we don’t agree with something?” Hobbs said. 

Copyright WTVM 2016. All rights reserved. 





 

  • YOUR TURN ON 9

  • Are you concerned that industries and event will not be held in Georgia if the religious freedoms bill is signed by the governor?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Yes
    64%
    426 votes
    No
    36%
    242 votes
  • Business leaving Georgia amid freedom religious bill controversy
  • LocalMore>>

  • Family honors cold case victim 20 years after her death

    Family honors cold case victim 20 years after her death

    Sunday, January 21 2018 3:43 PM EST2018-01-21 20:43:56 GMT
    (Source: Family)(Source: Family)
    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – It's a murder case gone cold for 20 years. Columbus Police Department investigators said they're still working to find out who shot and killed 37-year-old Laura Mae Chaney in 1998.   Chaney's body was discovered early morning on Jan. 4 - her body, riddled with bullets outside an apartment in what was then called Peabody Apartments off Talbotton Road. The neighborhood has since been remodeled and named Ashley Station. CPD...More >>
    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – It's a murder case gone cold for 20 years. Columbus Police Department investigators said they're still working to find out who shot and killed 37-year-old Laura Mae Chaney in 1998.   Chaney's body was discovered early morning on Jan. 4 - her body, riddled with bullets outside an apartment in what was then called Peabody Apartments off Talbotton Road. The neighborhood has since been remodeled and named Ashley Station. CPD...More >>
  • Winners drawn in Heart Raffle at Mercedes-Benz fundraiser

    Winners drawn in Heart Raffle at Mercedes-Benz fundraiser

    Sunday, January 21 2018 3:10 PM EST2018-01-21 20:10:26 GMT
    (Source: Tony Sloan/WTVM)(Source: Tony Sloan/WTVM)
    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – It's a lucky day for two people in the Columbus area who won the 2018 Heart Raffle. It's the 15th year of the event and representatives of Mercedes Benz says that this year's raffle is its biggest yet. "To date, we've raised over six-hundred thousand for the Heart Association. It's the fifteenth year we've done this and the most successful year. We sold 2,515 tickets which is all that we have to offer," says Mercedes of Columbus GM Richard Joyner...More >>
    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – It's a lucky day for two people in the Columbus area who won the 2018 Heart Raffle. It's the 15th year of the event and representatives of Mercedes Benz says that this year's raffle is its biggest yet. "To date, we've raised over six-hundred thousand for the Heart Association. It's the fifteenth year we've done this and the most successful year. We sold 2,515 tickets which is all that we have to offer," says Mercedes of Columbus GM Richard Joyner...More >>
  • UPDATE: Missing Columbus 14-year-old located

    UPDATE: Missing Columbus 14-year-old located

    Sunday, January 21 2018 11:56 PM EST2018-01-22 04:56:33 GMT

    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) The Special Victims Unit of the Columbus Police Department is issuing a critical missing persons alert for a 14-year-old.  Michael Burgett was last seen in the area of the 3700 block of 18th Ave. on Sunday. Burgett was wearing a black t-shirt with white writing, blue jean shorts and red high-top tennis shoes.  Police are now asking for the public's help in tracking this missing teen down. Anyone with information on Burgett's location is asked to contact...

    More >>

    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) The Special Victims Unit of the Columbus Police Department is issuing a critical missing persons alert for a 14-year-old.  Michael Burgett was last seen in the area of the 3700 block of 18th Ave. on Sunday. Burgett was wearing a black t-shirt with white writing, blue jean shorts and red high-top tennis shoes.  Police are now asking for the public's help in tracking this missing teen down. Anyone with information on Burgett's location is asked to contact...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly