Support Georgia Senate Bill 129 (RFRA)
and House Bills 837 and 218 (RFRA)
Georgia Religious Freedom Restoration Act
Both SB 129 and HB 837 (Georgia's RFRA) are modeled after the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act language that was passed by Congress in 1993. The text of the Georgia legislation varies only slightly from the federal version to take into account state specific differences.
LGBT Legislation
In the battle for religious liberty, it has become apparent that the key need to protect people of faith has arisen in America due to hostile actions from homosexual activists. As government policies and court decisions embrace the demands of the LGBT community, people of faith are victimized for holding firm to their religious beliefs. Thus it is imperative to oppose all legislation and government polices that give any special preference or privileges to those engaging in the homosexual lifestyle.
House Bill 323, by Representatives Karla Drenner, Wendell Willard (House Judiciary Chairman), Mike Jacobs (now appointed as a judge), Stacey Abrams (House Democratic Caucus Chairman), Rusty Kidd, and Simone Bell.

This legislation, if passed, would amend the definitions of Georgia's Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978 to include sexual orientation as a protected class with special privileges in employment law, including policies that would advance affirmative action for members of the LGBT community.

In the proposed legislation, "sexual orientation: is defined as a person's actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or gender related identity or expression.

To read the entire bill, click HERE.
To help defeat this bill, call Judiciary Chairman Wendell Willard at 404-656-5125.
S. 1858 and H.R. 3185 would enact into federal law special status to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered by giving these individuals additional privileges with regard to employment, public facilities, public accommodations, public educational institutions, housing, credit, and jury selection. It could force faith-based hospitals to even provide sex-change operations. In addition, the legislation would limit religious objections and not allow people who believe in natural marriage to seek relief from the tyrannical provisions of this legislation.

To read a summary of S. 1858 click HERE. To read the bill in its entirety, click HERE. To read the summary of H.R. 3185, click HERE. To read the bill in its entirety, click HERE. The bills mirror each other.
Oppose the Federal Equality Act
S.1858 and H.R.3185
Oppose Georgia House Bill 323
RFRAs Can Help Protect . . .

Churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship when local government actions deny permits to use or build facilities on unequal terms with secular structures.

Home-based churches and Bible study groups that face eviction on unequal terms with large gatherings (like parties) who meet in homes for secular purposes.

Church ministries that have faced bans by local governments on ministries that help ex-prisoners or feed the homeless.

Pharmacists who wish not to be forced to fill prescriptions for drugs that cause abortion and other medical professionals who wish not to participate in surgical abortions.

Public school students who face discipline for refusing school assignments that they consider blasphemous.

Public school students who face discipline for wearing religious symbols or other religious garb to school.

University students who want to exercise their freedom of association in religious clubs on campus.

University students who want to complete their courses of study without fear that their religious viewpoints will interfere with their grades or with their chosen degree programs.

Home school parents who have religious objections to onerous state regulations.

Religious adoption services which adhere to religious guidelines for choosing families to adopt children.
What is the purpose of RFRA when we have the First Amendment?
RFRA was originally passed by the U.S. Congress in 1993 in response to the very bad U.S. Supreme Court decision in Employment Division, Oregon Dept. of Human Resources v. Smith of 1990 which lowered the bar for protecting First Amendment religious liberty claims. RFRA restored the highest standard of judicial review, known as strict scrutiny. RFRA's restoration of strict scrutiny ensures that government cannot substantially burden the free exercise of religion without a compelling justification of the highest order. RFRA puts the burden on government to prove it has a compelling governmental interest. If it cannot prove its case, then the religious liberty interest overrides the government's interest. On the other hand, if government does prove it has a compelling governmental interest, such as public safety as an example, then RFRA requires that government must use the least restrictive means of accomplishing its ends so that religious liberty is as little infringed as possible. RFRA passed the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously by voice vote and passed the Senate 97 to 3. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
If Congress passed it, why does Georgia need a state RFRA?
The federal RFRA only applies to federal laws that create burdens on religious liberty. Though the federal government cannot make laws that directly affect religion, laws still can create negative repercussions on religious liberty, such as what has happened under the Affordable Care Act. The federal RFRA does not apply to state laws and state policies. Therefore, 20 states have passed state versions of RFRA, and judges in 13 additional states have affirmed RFRA-based protections to their states' citizens. All the states that border Georgia have state RFRAs.
When did the effort for Georgia's RFRA begin?
During the 2014 Georgia General Assembly, Senator Josh McKoon authored SB 377, a state RFRA which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill was slated to come out of the Rules Committee onto the Senate floor for a vote, but lobbyists representing several large corporations that are headquartered in Georgia (such as Delta and Home Depot) asked the leadership to hold the bill, thus the process had to begin anew in 2015 because 2014 was the end of the two-year session. In addition, Rep. Sam Teasley authored a similar bill in the House, HB 1023. However, a hearing room filled with a standing-room crowd of Georgia Equality activists, a LGBT lobbyist organization, ended the bill's chances.
What is the status of the Georgia RFRA now?
In January 2015, Sen. Josh McKoon sponsored SB 129, which passed the Senate and awaits action in the House. The bill currently sits in the House Judiciary Committee. It was tabled due to an unfriendly amendment added to the bill. Rep. Sam Teasley also authored a House version of the bill, HB 218, but it has not received a hearing.
Who supports RFRA?
RFRA is supported by the leaders of the nation’s largest faith communities: Catholic, Baptist, Evangelical, Mormon, and Orthodox Jewish. RFRA ensures that all religious faiths are treated equally under the law.
Who opposes RFRA?
Though even the ACLU strongly supported the federal RFRA in 1993, the political left has generally turned against RFRA due to their fears that it could conflict with their other political priorities. For example, LGBT rights groups are now generally opposed to RFRA because they want sexual freedom to trump religious freedom. Most abortion rights activists are also generally opposed to RFRA since the Hobby Lobby ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Health and Human Services abortion drug and contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. In addition, multi-national corporations have actively opposed efforts to pass RFRA, not only in Georgia but in several other states due to their strong ties with the LBGT community.
Who uses RFRA in the courts?
Most recently, the Green family won its Hobby Lobby case on the basis of RFRA. They sought relief from the Affordable Care Act's mandate that the company's insurance plan include abortion-inducing birth control drugs. Strongly pro-life due to their religious beliefs, the Green family could not, in good conscience, bow to that mandate. Though that is the most recent high profile case, RFRA is regularly utilized to protect religious freedom in courts by the nation’s leading religious freedom litigation organizations, including: The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, The Alliance Defending Freedom, The Liberty Institute, and the American Center for Law and Justice. Religious freedom litigators explain that RFRAs greatest practical value is actually in litigation avoidance: it gives religious people and institutions much greater bargaining power in dealing with government bureaucrats and the attorneys who advise them. In the absence of RFRA, bureaucracies almost always have the advantage. RFRA instead puts the burden on government to justify actions that infringe on religious liberty and to use the least restrictive means available. However, RFRA is not a guarantee that those making a religious claim will win their case. RFRA merely provides firm statutory language upon which a robust defense against government action can be mounted.
Support Georgia Senate Bill 284 (FADA)
Now Incorporated into House Bill 757
Georgia First Amendment Defense Act
Sponsored by Sen Greg Kirk, the Georgia FADA, as originally introduced,  was  patterned after the federal FADA which was authored by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) (S 1598) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) (HR 2802).  The federal  legislation is co-sponsored by Georgia U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue. It is also co-sponsored by every member of the Republican Congressional Delegation.

The amended version of FADA, which was added to HB 757, the Pastors Protection Act, has been modified to become viewpoint neutral so that any sincerely held religious belief and any speech or action arising from those religious beliefs,  regarding lawful marriage,  are not subject to adverse government action at the state and local levels.
Why is FADA needed?
Because the Supreme Court redefined marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges, protection is needed for Georgians who hold the traditional religious view of marriage and sexual conduct. Even before the passage of Obergefell, there was growing intolerance toward religiously-minded individuals and organizations who want to live by their conviction that marriage is the union of one man and one woman or that sexual  relations are properly reserved to such a marriage. Since the ruling, there are increasing reports of individuals and organizations holding these traditional beliefs being targeted for discrimination by state governments. This bill would prevent Georgia from engaging in similar discrimination.
Tax treatment, including tax exempt status and charitable contribution deductions;

Government grants, contracts and subcontracts, cooperative agreements, guarantees, loans, scholarships, licenses, certifications, accreditations, and employment;

Government benefits and entitlements;

Access to government facilities, educational institutions, and charitable fundraising campaigns;

Accreditation, licensing, and certification.
the recent Obergefell Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, the opinion reassured that the religious liberty rights of all Americans, including those who advocate a traditional view of marriage, must be protected.  FADA is particularly needed as gay marriage advocates file lawsuits to force organizations and businesses to do their bidding regarding wedding planning, adoption of children, marriage counseling, and any number of services that could be found easily at other locations.
Whom would the Act protect?
The Georgia FADA would protect a wide array of persons, including individuals and organizations, both for-profits and non-profits, regardless of whether or not they are religiously affiliated. Thus, business owners as well as faith communities that speak and act upon their religious or moral beliefs regarding marriage as solely between one man and one woman would be protected against government retalliation.

What states have attempted the type of discrimination this bill is designed to protect against?
There are many examples. Recently, in Idaho, two ministers, a husband and wife, were threatened with criminal prosecution for not officiating at same-sex “weddings.” In California, a bill was introduced in the California legislature to strip the Boy Scouts of their state tax exemption based on the Scouts’ decision not to have adults who publically identify as homosexual serve as Scout leaders. The bill would also have revoked the tax-exempt status of other youth organizations that hold to an authentic sexual morality, including organizations affiliated with Catholic schools. In New Mexico, the State Supreme Court ruled that a husband and wife who own and operate a photography studio must act against their religious beliefs and take photographs of a same-sex commitment ceremony, if they want to do business in the state. One of the judges wrote that violating one’s religious beliefs was “the price of citizenship.” There are many other examples around the nation.
What does FADA do?
A Georgia FADA would protect Georgians, who speak or act upon their religious or moral convictions that marriage is the union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage, from state or local government actions that would retaliate against them in the areas of:
More State Religious Liberty Bills to Watch and Amend
A number of religious liberty bills have recently been introduced including House Bill 756, which shields some businesses from providing goods and services for marriage ceremonies that violate their religious beliefs.

House Bill 757 deals with protecting clergy in order to shield them from being required to perform marriage ceremonies that violate their religious beliefs. This bill  needs to be amended with better language.

HB 870 and SB 309 are good bills that protect the religious expression of student athletes. HB 816, the Georgia Student Religious Liberties Act is an excellent bill that ensures the religious expression of all public school students.
Rep. Doug Collins (District 9)
1504 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Office: (202) 225-9893

Rep. Jody Hice (District 10)
1516 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Office: (202) 225-4101

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (District 11)
238 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Office: (202) 225-2931

Rep. Rick Allen (District 12)
513 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Office: (202) 225-2823

Rep. Tom Graves (District 14)
2443 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Office: (202) 225-5211
Rep. Buddy Carter (District 1)
432 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Office: (202) 225-5831

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (District 3)
2202 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Office: (202) 225-5901

Rep. Tom Price (District 6)
100 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Office: (202) 225-4501

Rep. Bob Woodall (District 7)
1724 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Office: (202) 225-4272

Rep. Austin Scott (District 8)
2417 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Office: (202) 225-6531
Senator Johnny Isakson
131 Russell Senate Office Building
1st and C Streets, NE
Washington, D.C. 20510
Office: (202) 224-3643

Senator David Perdue
383 Russell Senate Office Building
1st and C Streets, NE
Washington, D.C. 20510
Office: (202) 224-3521
Republican U.S. Senators
Republican U.S. Representatives
Democrat U.S. Representatives
Rep. Sanford Bishop (District 2)
2407 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Office: (202) 225-3631

Rep. Hank Johnson (District 4)
2240 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Office: (202) 225-1605

Rep. John Lewis (District 5)
343 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Office: (202) 225-3801

Rep. David Scott (District 13)
225 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Office: (202) 225-2939
In addition to the Georgia State FADA, Congress has also introduced a Federal FADA. Call Congress! Urge Passage of
S. 1598 & H.R. 2802
The Georgia Senate passed FADA 38-14 on February 19, 2016.  In early March, Governor Deal sided with corporate global elites against religious liberty. Governor Deal has made the wrong choice.