The bill, SB 375, passed the senate 35 to 19 along party lines. While the bill’s sponsors and supporters claim SB 375 is about religious liberty, opponents say it will lead to state-sanctioned bigotry.
The bill was introduced by State Sen. William Ligon along with five additional legislative supporters: Sens. Jesse Stone, Steve Gooch, David Shafer, Greg Kirk and Jeff Mullis.
Ligon and several of his fellow lawmakers supporting the bill, however, have a track record of introducing other legislation steeped in anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment.
In 2011, Mullis and Gooch co-sponsored SB 40, an anti-immigrant “show me your papers” bill modeled after Arizona’s draconian SB 1070, which forced local and state law enforcement agencies to carry out immigration enforcement actions. That same year, both senators co-sponsored an additional anti-immigrant bill, SB 104, which, among other things, sought to put a statewide ban on sanctuary jurisdictions.
SB 375 now heads to the Georgia State House of Representatives.