Kirk defends his first amendment defense act

Kirk defends his first amendment defense act

AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - A South Georgia state senator defends his bill that critics say will lead to discrimination against same-sex couples. Greg Kirk says there's been some misunderstanding with his proposed legislation and he hopes to clear it up.

"It protects the religious liberties of the millions of Georgians who still hold that the definition of marriage is to be between a man and a woman."

That is how State Senator Greg Kirk defines his First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia, a proposed bill he announced to the public on Thursday.

"That they can express that without any discrimination or any kind of penalty from a government entity in the state of Georgia," said Kirk.

The legislation would protect people who express that belief from discrimination in their taxes, non-profit status, employment, government grants and more.

"Contracts, sub-contracts, corporative grievance, guarantees, loans, scholarships, license," said Kirk.

It would also protect faith based organizations.

"So this would protect your faith based adoption agencies that may be only want to adopt children out to couples who are man and woman," said Kirk.

Kirk says there's one thing that the bill does not do.

"It does not in any way shape or form hinder, or stop a same-sex couple from obtaining a marriage license," said Kirk.

Kirk drafted the bill in the summer last year.

"I've changed many things in the bill to try to make it accommodate the needs of Georgians who still hold that marriage is between a man and a woman," said Kirk.

Critics say the bill is unnecessary and discriminatory and could lead to backlash that would hurt Georgia businesses.  Kirk says it's not anti-business.

"I am pro-business," said Kirk. "I am all about economic development especially in Southwest Georgia. We need businesses down here. I wouldn't do anything to hurt that, but at the same time. I believe our religious liberties need to be protected."

The legislation was assigned to the Rules committee on Friday.  It will be read on the Senate Floor on Monday.

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