March 24, 2017 Radio Commentary

Victories on Cross-Over Day

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, March 24, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

When the 2017 session began, the House and Senate changed Cross-over Day from the 30thlegislative day to Day 28. That means, legislation must be half-way through the process by the end of Cross-over Day, or it won’t pass this session. At the end of Cross-over Day last Friday, conservatives could claim at least 19 victories, since 19 bills we oppose won’t pass this session, unless they’re attached to another bill that’s poised to pass.

Among those 19 bills that died in committee are six alternate lifestyle bills. Such as H.B. 16, the “bully bill,” that requires extra protection for students claiming variant sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Gender expression includes, but is not limited to, the spoken word, the type of clothing, and affected mannerisms. H.B. 16 allows students to be charged with bullying if they, simply, express a negative opinion about lifestyle.

S.B. 119 gives Civil Rights status based on sexual orientation and gender identity as they apply to rental property or public accommodations in public facilities. The only exception in the renting of property is the exemption of any five-room home that’s occupied by the owner or proprietor. In a home bigger than five rooms, lifestyle screening for tenants would not be allowed.

S.B. 145 would have repealed the aggravated sodomy law in eight Code sections as they apply to gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. That repeal would eliminate the aggravated sodomy penalty for childhood sexual abuse.H.B. 492 requires stricter penalties if aggravated assault is committed against a person with an alternate lifestyle or gender identity. The penalty would be much less if the same crime is against a victim who is not in an alternate lifestyle.

H.B. 230 discriminates against Christian students and Christian colleges by requiring tuition grants or scholarships to be used only in schools or programs with policies promoting gender, sexual orientation, or gender-related characteristics. That is double discrimination against (a) students who would use scholarships to attend Christian schools, and (b) schools that uphold Christian morality. Such discrimination, also, squelches the constitutional right to freedom of religion, the free exercise of religion, and the freedom of speech for Christian students and Christian colleges.

These victories must be monitored lest they are resurrected, because all bills, such as these six, that are left in committee remain alive for the 2018 session.

For Georgia Insight, I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.