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|Ga. LGBT job bill looks to be revived next year under Gold Dome|
|Written by Dyana Bagby|
|Friday, 30 March 2012 17:19|
A bill that would prohibit state employees from being fired because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender never got out of a Judiciary Committee subcommittee this year in the Georgia legislature, but plans are to continue garnering support to have it passed in a future session.
When the State Fair Employment Practices Act, HB 630, was first introduced at the end of last year's session by state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Atlanta), activists planned for the bill to take perhaps several sessions before it would get passed, said Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham.
The bill did get a hearing before one Judiciary Committee subcommittee with supporters testifying on its behalf and Drenner also testified at a second subcommittee hearing in favor of the bill.
At the first hearing, Tanya Ditty, state director of the Concerned Women of America, testified against the bill, comparing gay people to pedophiles and necrophiliacs.
During the second hearing, Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs), chair of the Judiciary Committee and a co-sponsor of HB 630, banned cameras and video because he said video's of Ditty testifying against HB 630 posted to the internet were an "abuse."
Despite the discord at both hearings, Graham said they represented a historical first in Georgia politics.
"No bill with sexual orientation and gender identity in it has gotten this far before," he said. "There was no vote to strip language from it and a number of Republicans supported the measure."
Graham noted that Republicans who supported HB 630 are now being targeted in the upcoming election season by the Peach Tea Party.
While HB 630 didn't get a full hearing, the conversation on the bill was started under the Gold Dome, Graham said. And for LGBT residents, the session was actually quite kind, he said.
"This certainly was not a great session for us, but many have been much worse," he said.
"Legislators went after the poor, women, immigrants during this session and I do think it is significant that the LGBT community was not targeted this time," he added. "We are changing the tone when it comes to gay and transgender rights."
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