ATLANTA, GA - Two new bills working their way through the state legislature in Georgia are causing controversy after a liberal advocacy group took out full-page ads attacking them. The bills could allow people to claim that their religious beliefs make them exempt from parts of the law. The group "Better Georgia" sponsored an ad saying that people who are charged with crimes like domestic violence could cite their religious beliefs as a defense. Opponents of the measure feel the bill would also legitimize discrimination in the work place and allow businesses to refuse service to minority groups.
Supporters of the bill say they are simply trying to stop government from infringing on people's religious freedom.
Civil rights advocates say the bill's timing is no coincidence. As constitutional rulings on marriage equality become the law of the land, critics say that religious freedom laws will give businesses a way to avoid new requirements.