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A Victory for Religious Liberty!

Yesterday, the Georgia House and Senate passed significant religious freedom legislation.  A substitute HB 757, re-drafted as the Free Exercise Protection Act, combines the original HB 757, known as the Pastor Protection Act, with elements of the Georgia First Amendment Defense Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  The bill passed overwhelmingly, 104-65 in the House and 37-18 in the Senate. Thank you for all your hard work, support, and prayers to make this happen.  We need your continued prayers and support to make sure that Governor Deal signs this bill.  Contact Governor Deal at 404-656-1776 or use the online form and tell him to sign this bill, which protects the religious freedom of all Georgians, without discriminating against anyone.

  • Ministers and other religious officials can perform marriages and other ceremonies, or not, in their discretion under free exercise of religion, without threat of civil action or interference from the government.  The government may not withhold or revoke tax exemptions, impose fines, or disallow tax deductions for charitable contributions by ministers for refusing to perform ceremonies.
  • Businesses which operate on Saturday or Sunday shall make all reasonable accommodations for employees whose day of worship is one of those days.  No local ordinance can require a business to operate on either of those days.
  • Faith based organizations (churches, religious schools, church conventions or associations, mission agencies, or auxiliaries) qualified as 501(c)(3) exempt religious organizations are not required to: a) lease property to be used for an event which is objectionable to that organization; b) provide services that violate the organization’s sincerely held religious beliefs; c) hire or retain an employee whose own religious beliefs, lack thereof, or practices are not in accord with the organization’s sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion unless it can demonstrate (1) compelling government interest; and (2) that the burden is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.  Violation may be asserted as a claim or defense in a lawsuit against the government.
  • The bill specificallydoes not permit discrimination on any grounds prohibited by federal or state law, or allow a public officer or employee to fail to perform his or her official duties.

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