Need for Religious Freedom Not Going Away

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal

My piece on Georgia’s religious freedom legislation at the Columbia County News-Times:

Just as the Supreme Court thought it had resolved the abortion debate 44 years ago, so apparently Gov. Nathan Deal thought he had put to bed the religious-freedom issue with his veto of the Free Exercise Protection Act (FEPA) on Easter Monday. But Georgians of faith – many of them Republicans – are reacting with righteous indignation to the governor’s surrender to the forces of intimidation.

And as the governor grows more defensive, he strays further and further from the truth.

Last weekend, nine of the 14 GOP district conventions passed resolutions supporting FEPA, also known as House Bill 757. These resolutions were direct and unsparing in their criticism of the governor’s veto, expressing “deep disappointment” with his abandonment of Georgians of faith and urging him “to uphold his constitutional duty to protect our First Amendment Free Exercise rights . . . .”

No district convention that was presented with such a resolution voted it down.

In fact, in District 12, when Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, took the floor to read the names of all state legislators from that district who voted for FEPA, he finished to a standing ovation.

The delegates of District 3 went further than this, passing a resolution actually “censuring” the governor for his veto.

There is no way Governor Deal could have missed the message.

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Jane Robbins is an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principles Project.