I’ve been posting a lot lately about the Georgia legislature passing their version of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act [RFRA] which allows anyone, anywhere, anytime, ever, to deny services to the LGBT community if they say they have a religious objection to The Gays. The Legislature even had no problem when told that their RFRA would protect the KKK because they prefer The Klan over The Gays, but …
After hearing from big business throughout the state, and their threats to pack up their companies and go, Georgia Governor, and, surprisingly, a Republican, Nathan Deal warned the lawmakers that he would reject the bill because he understands that these bills do more harm than good … to the state at least.
Deal called on the Legislature to change the proposal, which has passed the Georgia Senate, but also made it clear that he wouldn’t be if a changed bill failed to pass into law:
“It’s not on my agenda item. It’s not one of those issues that I have been pushing.”
And then he said that he objected to the measure because, wait for it, it’s pure gold, the Bible told him so; yes, the very Bible that conservatives use as a weapon of mass discrimination is the same Bible that Nathan Deal used as a reason why this RFRA should never pass:
“We do not have a belief in my way of looking at religion that says we have to discriminate against anybody. If you were to apply those standards to the teaching of Jesus, I don’t think they fit. [We] have a belief in forgiveness and that we do not have to discriminate unduly against anyone on the basis of our own religious beliefs. We are not jeopardized, in my opinion, by those who believe differently from us. We are not, in my opinion, put in jeopardy by virtue of those who might hold different beliefs or who may not even agree with what our Supreme Court said the law of the land is on the issue of same-sex marriage. I do not feel threatened by the fact that people who might choose same-sex marriages pursue that route.”
And then Nathan Deal said that he and his wife Sandra believe in “traditional marriage” between a man and a woman:
“But that does not mean that those who hold to that view should feel like they are threatened by those who have a different point of view. I hope that we can all just take a deep breath, recognize that the world is changing around us, and recognize that it is important that we protect fundamental religious beliefs,” he said. “But we don’t have to discriminate against other people in order to do that. And that’s the compromise that I’m looking for.”
Yup; he has a right to believe in “traditional” marriage but at least he understands that the law is the law, and that the Bible, and the Baby Jeebus, do not believe in discrimination … and neither should Georgia.
Now, onto South Dakota, where the legislature there was the first in the country to pass legislation that made it a crime for a transgender student to be in a bathroom or locker room that did not match with the gender listed on the trans person’s birth certificate.
But then South Dakota’s governor, surprisingly, another Republican, Dennis Daugaard, vetoed the bill and asked that the House not try to override him.
And last week, the South Dakota House of Representatives did in fact fail override Daugaard’s veto; supporters needed a two-thirds vote, but failed by a margin of 36-29.
Good on Governor Daugaard and good on South Dakota, for teetering on the verge of legislating intolerance, and then walking back from the precipice.