- February 28, 2014
Georgia Democratic state Rep. Stacey Abrams and conservative communications strategist James Richardson have together penned an op-ed in CNN calling on the Georgia General Assembly to put a stop to a measure -- modeled after the one recently vetoed in Arizona -- that would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers on the basis of religious conviction.
Richardson is a former spokesman and adviser to the Republican National Committee and former Govs. Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Jon Huntsman of Utah.
Write Richardson and Abrams:
Like the controversial Arizona bill, this broadly written proposal has profound implications -- not only for the aggrieved minority it would directly affect but also for the social reputation of the state at large. Those implications will permanently stain us, cementing the lasting ignominy of Jim Crow.
One of us is the Democratic leader of the Georgia House of Representatives and the other an adviser to two conservative Republican governors and national party committees. Despite our policy disagreements, we're both Georgians, and we stand together in opposition to these bills.
The fact that we can overcome our severe political differences and agree that this legislation would be wrong and bad for the state demonstrates the growing bipartisan opposition to legislation of this sort.
Last night, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a recently-passed bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse services to the LGBT community on the basis of religious freedom. This followed HRC's delivery of over 65,000 petition signatures to Gov. Brewer calling on her to veto the bill. The so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act could have been used to protect businesses that discriminate not only against the LGBT community but also unmarried women or veterans, among other groups.
Today Lance Bass joined HRC in speaking out against Mississippi’s SB 2681, a similar bill that would essentially give businesses license to discriminate against LGBT customers.