Georgia lawmaker to introduce LGBT protections bill

Survey finds Georgia ranks 2nd in workplace discrimination


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Georgia lawmaker is set to file a bill that calls for added protection against discrimination for people in the LGBT community.

A recent survey from InsuranceQuotes.com found Georgia ranked second in the number of workplace discrimination complaints from LGBT employees.

Georgia Rep. Sandra Scott, D-Rex, drafted the bill, which is about protecting groups of people from discrimination in terms of things like jobs and housing.

Georgia's current law does not prevent a person from being fired or refused the ability to buy or rent a home because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

If passed, the bill would add those in the LGBT community to the list of protected classes, which currently include race, country, familial status, disability and others.

Beyond employment and housing protections, the bill would also protect the LGBT community in a long list of public places, including restaurants, gas stations, movie theaters and more.

Scott said Georgia is one of three states to not have comprehensive civil rights protections. She said attempts to add sexual orientation and gender identity have been made in the past, but a previous bill never made it out of committee.

"If we want to be respected as a progressive state, then we must do progressive things," Scott said.

Scott hopes the support her nonpartisan bill has received will make it more likely to pass.

"I have received a great deal of support from the churches, pastors, fellow legislators, business owners and civil rights activists," Scott said. "The economic impact of not passing this legislation could be injurious to our economy. I am certain it will impact our ability to attract business to our state."

She also expressed concern that film companies, who have been taking advantage of financial breaks offered for filming in Georgia will not continue to use the state if these protections aren't added soon.

"It will create challenges with sports, entertainment, and the motion picture companies who will find it difficult to do business in a state where the civil rights of their employees and families are not recognized or protected," Scott said.

She is filing the bill Monday, and from there it will be assigned to a committee. The bill has to be voted out of the committee and then it will be sent to the entire House for a vote.

If it makes it out of the House, it would then go to the Senate, where a similar process occurs.

If the Senate votes for the bill without any amendments or recommendations, then the bill passes and will be forwarded to the governor to be signed into law, Scott said.

The bill can be read here in its entirety.

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