It's a new year which means it's the beginning of a new legislative session in many states and that means conservative state lawmakers will be up to their usual tricks in the coming weeks and months.
Lawmakers in Georgia are preparing to consider two "religious liberty" bills that would legalize discrimination in the state, because "liberty," as it were, apparently isn't a universal concept.
SB 129, introduced by Sen. Josh McKoon (R), would prohibit the government from burdening an individual’s religious beliefs similar to the federal RFRA that was expanded by the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. This protection would be used to circumvent local laws across the state that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; for example, a wedding vendor who refuses to serve a same-sex couple could claim that doing so burdens her religious liberty. [...]
In 2016, SB 129 will not be alone. Sen. Greg Kirk (R), a former Southern Baptist pastor, is planning to introduce a companion bill similarly intended to enable discrimination. He has not filed it nor made its text publicly available, but he claims it would mirror the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) introduced in Congress.
This is just the latest example of the conservative Republican notion of sovereignty which they do not covet unless it's only theirs to have.
Republican state lawmakers and governors have no qualms about exerting control over cities and municipalities that vote to raise their minimum wage or, in this case, bar discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
That is to say they believe in "states' rights" only if they control the state.
As far as "liberty" goes, I think we've covered that.