News (USA)

Georgia House committee cancels meeting to decide fate of ‘religious freedom’ bill

Georgia House committee cancels meeting to decide fate of ‘religious freedom’ bill
Georgia state capitol in Atlanta
Georgia state capitol in Atlanta

ATLANTA — A Georgia House committee has cancelled a meeting that was scheduled to occur on Monday morning, leaving the future of the state’s “religious liberty” bill in doubt.

A specially called meeting of the House Judiciary Committee was scheduled to meet at 10 a.m., to likely decide the fate of a controversial bill for this year.

But a member of the committee, who asked not to be identified for fear of angering leadership, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the meeting was off.

The committee member did not know if it would be rescheduled, but with lawmakers only meeting in session Tuesday and Thursday before ending their 2015 session, time is rapidly expiring on Senate Bill 129.

The back-and-forth on the bill comes as Indiana deals with the backlash from adopting a similar law that has led to calls of boycotts and the potential loss of tens of millions of dollars in tourism and economic development. Indiana Gov. Mike Spence on Sunday told ABC News the law is not about discrimination but refused to say whether it would permit a business owner to refuse service to someone with whom they disagree.

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Last week, in a surprise 9-8 vote, the Judiciary Committee voted to amend the measure to add language that the bill could not be used to discriminate against anyone already protected by any local, state or federal law.

It was quickly tabled by supporters who said adding anti-discrimination language “gutted” the bill.

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