300+ celebs, companies, clergy speak out against anti-LGBT #FADA in Georgia

Georgia's so-called "First Amendment Defense Act," or FADA, seeks to legalize discrimination against LGBT Georgians, single mothers, unwed parents, people of differing faiths, and more by allowing any taxpayer-funded, faith-based nonprofit or agency to deny services based on religious beliefs.

Among leaders in entertainment, technology, and general commerce, of which Georgia has become a hub, concern is spreading that, in addition to relegating LGBT people as second-class citizens, FADA will drive away business across the Peach state. Similar proposed legislation throughout the US has shown that discrimination is bad for business.

The bill, approved by the state senate last Friday, is currently under review by Georgia's House of Representatives and is expected to move to Governor Nathan Deal's desk soon. Governor Deal has stated he will "change" FADA, but has not specified how or made clear his stance on the bill.

While the Peach State's LGBT community and supporters nationwide await updates on FADA, prominent companies, LGBT and affirming celebrities, and clergy members have weighed in to encourage everyone to take action and stand with LGBT Georgians. At time of writing, more than 300 companies, organizations, and Georgia-based clergy members have spoken out.




FADA is just one of a series of so-called "religious freedom bills" under consideration in the Georgia legislature and around the country, which would allow individuals to cite their religious beliefs to discriminate against their LGBT neighbors.

In recent years, Georgia has become a popular site for major movie and TV filming. With anti-LGBT legislations on the table,  leaders in the field are concerned passing such laws will isolate not only media experts, but millennial media consumers who firmly support LGBT acceptance. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

“This very assembly working on this bill has invested billions of taxpayer dollars growing an industry that would leave this state,” said Brian Tolleson, who owns an Atlanta-based digital entertainment company called Bark Bark and works with studios and media companies from New York City to Los Angeles. “They will boycott coming to shoot anything here,” Tolleson said. “The powers that be in the industry really want to defeat Georgia’s rise as entertainment destination. And we’re handing it to them on a silver platter.”

Meanwhile, Charlotte, North Carolina has moved forrward to protect LGBT people at a time when many in the United States report complacency and ambivalence on LGBT issues. On Monday night in an historic move, the Charlotte City Council voted in favor of a nondiscrimination ordinance that grants equal access to public accommodations. 

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As a part of the Southern Stories program, GLAAD is supporting Georgia LGBT advocates' efforts to oppose anti-LGBT bills in whatever form they take. You can help defeat FADA and the other so-called "religious freedom bills," and assure the protection of Georgia's LGBT community today.