'Religious freedom' bill may have life

Religious freedom bill could see new life

ATLANTA -- Although the 2017 version of the "religious freedom" bill appears all but dead, backers say they are looking for ways to get it to a vote.

The bill has been stuck in the Senate Rules committee. Republican leaders have said they don’t want to deal with the divisive issue this legislative session.  Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a similar bill last year.

FULL TRANSCRIPT | Gov. Deal's speech on 'Religious Freedom' Bill veto

RELATED | What's next after governor veto of 'religious freedom' bill?

But the bill sponsor says he hopes to be able to attach the language to another bill that will come to a vote over the next eight legislative days.

"You play a little bit of politics with those that are in charge, and makes the rules," said Sen. Matt Harbin (R-Tyrone). "But it’s not the first time it’s been done, and a lot of things happen quickly toward the end of the sessions."

Harbin and his allies have already tried and failed to attach religious freedom language to bills regulating petroleum pipelines and civil lawsuit paperwork. Both efforts were ruled out of order by Senate leaders.  Yet backers aren't the only ones expecting the issue to revitalize.

"That’s why we continue to be on guard and watch what is happening very, very closely," said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, an LGBT rights organization.

Opponents say religious liberty legislation would allow discrimination against the LGBT community.  The legislature adjourns March 30.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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