On Tuesday (June 23) the Georgia Legislature approved a hate-crimes bill that would protect people who are targeted because of their race, sexual orientation, or religion.
House Bill 426 will allow enhanced criminal penalties to be levied against those who target their victims on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, or physical or mental disability.
State Senator Bill Cowsert said:
I heard someone say, ‘If you stand idly by and tolerate hatred and discrimination, you are part of the problem.
That was sort of a gut punch to me. I thought: me and my friends, we’re not racist. We don’t buy into any stereotypes, we’re beyond that. … But I think we’re really at sort of a tipping point right now.
That makes it an undeniable problem and an intolerable injustice that we can not continue to tolerate. This law isn’t going to magically make everybody forget racial stereotypes or racial prejudices that some will continue to hold.
But in this continuum of history, we’re evolving, we’re moving forward — moving forward together.
Georgia was one of four states that does not have a hate-crimes law.
Now, that will change!
The bill will now head to Governor Brian Kemp for his signature.
Hurry up and sign, B!