Georgia Governor Deal Vetoes HB 757-The Free Exercise Protection Act

by Allen Emptage

The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.

— Ayn Rand

Governor Deal has declared he will veto HB 757, the Free Exercise Protection Act. The bill in its final form pertains to faith based organizations (qualified as 501(c)(3) exempt religious organizations) and religious officials. Such organizations and officials could decline to rent out their facilities or perform ceremonies that violated their religious beliefs. It would have also granted those organizations the right to fire and not hire individuals who opposed or held contradictory beliefs to the organization. The bill also prevents litigation against organizations and individuals exercising these rights.

People should be able to refuse association with whomever they want, for any reason they want without fear of retaliation. They should be able to do the same with their businesses and organizations, not just religious affiliations. Whom we associate with is a very important part of our identity and self-expression. This also runs into basic human nature, forcing people who dislike you to deal with you engenders resentment and anger. Have you ever walked away from an argument or an asshole to prevent escalation? Forcing people to associate with each other involuntarily is damaging to society in the long term. People need to be able to walk away.


The civil rights movement started because of legal discrimination. It was unfortunately common in the for city ordinance to enforce segregation. We homosexuals had our bars and clubs raided on the flimsiest of pretenses. Bureaucrats enforced regulatory codes with malicious intent. We wanted to be able to associate together in peace in our own homes and businesses. When did we start wanting to force people to like us? When did we stop wanting to be respected and start wanting to be served? Now we have the power, and we prove we are no better than the people we once pleaded with “Please, leave us in peace. We don’t want to be like you, we want to be ourselves.”


This trend of enforced cultural assimilation is discomforting. We set a terrible example for future generations to follow. We say, “You must not be different, you must conform.” We say, “We don’t care how angry you are, you must serve.” Worst of all we say, “You have or be crushed, you cannot flee.” Can you recall or imagine what that felt like? How did you feel about your oppressors? What did you want to do to them? What will people do to us fifty years from now? What about a hundred?”

Never forget, tolerance protects the minorities, not the majorities. Which are you?[/read]

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