The circus that is the Georgia legislature has been in town since January 12th, and in that time, they’ve managed to put the fear of god and guns in queer Georgians several times this session.
From the passage of “Campus Carry” legislation that allows the presence of firearms on college campuses, to the contentious presentation and recent amendment of their First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), the Gold Dome has produced more classic horror moments than Hitchcock and Wes Craven combined. Today, the legislature successfully passed FADA—legislation that has been shown time and time again to not be necessary. The protection of pastors when conducting same-sex marriages was heavily debated in Obergefell v. Hodges. Mary Bonauto successfully deflected arguments from the late Antonin Scalia that focused intensely on the possible plight of pastors and others who were likely to forgo conducting same-sex ceremonies. Bonauto asserted that there were already protections in place for those who exist and work within religious institutions. Perhaps it was Scalia’s point that inspired the huge rash of so-called “first amendment protection” laws; consider this an important part of his legacy because it has gained so much wind on the conservative front.
Still, it appears that even though queer Georgia residents sit in fear, there exists some hope that Governor Deal—if his forceful statements are anything to go off of—may veto the legislation once it reaches his desk. At the end of his last term, and unlikely to run for office again, it’s not surprising that Deal would take this moment to go against ideological party lines. He may have learned a thing or two from Mike Pence, and considering the massive growth Atlanta has experienced in the past several years, it is unlikely he would contaminate his legacy by doing his best modern-day Bull Connor impression.
Still, it’s hard for any Georgia queer to rest, because Deal is still and will always be a Georgia Republican. And as much as he has hinted at his open-mindedness in past decisions, he's a man with nothing to lose if he signs away our protection from discrimination.
Zaida J. is currently a Features Editor at WUSSY and a self-described transgender loud mouth.