Business owners dislike freedom bills - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Business owners dislike freedom bills

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COBB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

Metro-Atlanta business owners gave a chilly reception Tuesday to Georgia's proposed freedom bills.

Sponsors of the bills said the legislation is designed to protect people and businesses from being forced to do things that are against their religious beliefs. Opponents feared the bills would be used to discriminate against the gay and lesbian community.

Business owners CBS46 spoke with said the legislation seemed unnecessary. "I don't want you to know what my religion is. That's my business, and whatever your religion is, that's your business, and it should remain that way," said Mark Allen, who's owned the Australian Bakery Café on Marietta's Square for 13 years.

"We want to give service, not to refuse service. There are struggles enough trying to stay in business, especially a small business," added David Reardon, who owns Shillings on the Square, near Allen's business.

Others feared if the legislation passes, it will harm Georgia's reputation. "I think it would put us back many, many years from the discrimination laws we dealt with a long, long time ago," said Kevin Jones, manager of Rita's Italian Ice in Midtown Atlanta.

An amended version of House Bill 1023 was expected to be unveiled later in the week. The Senate's version, Bill 377 could reach the floor by Wednesday afternoon.

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