Georgia’s General Assembly will hold committee hearings on HB 1023 and SB 377, otherwise known as the “Preservation of Religious Freedom Act,” this afternoon, according to a report from our media affiliate CBS Atlanta.

According to the Democratic Party of Georgia, the potential impact of both bills is far-reaching. Under the proposed laws, individuals and private organizations could claim an imposition on their religious freedoms to make decisions otherwise protected by current law. For instance, both of these bills would allow employers to discriminate against potential employees based on current protected legal statuses — like race, sex, age, pregnancy, sexual orientation, nationality and even religion under the guise of protecting the employer’s religious freedom.

Much like bills proposed in Arizona and Kansas, these bills would allow business owners to refuse service to gays and lesbians  if it goes against their religious beliefs.

“These bills are dangerous and virtually immeasurable in scope,” said Democratic Party of Georgia Spokesperson Michael Smith. “What makes this even more alarming is the fact that Republicans are using a tactic they seem to be quite fond of lately by scheduling the hearings in tandem to sidestep opposition testimony.”

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.