A former aide to former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign wrote in a wry Sunday opinion editorial that a religious liberty bill under consideration by the General Assembly would “chase away business and jobs” as it “create[s] a frightening solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”
Marisa Flores, who directed Hispanic outreach for Santorum’s Georgia operation, took to the pages of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer to urge lawmakers to abandon the First Amendment Defense Act lest the local economy backslide.
“For the first time in eight years, Georgia’s unemployment rate fell last month to pre-recession levels,” Flores wrote. “Things were looking up for the state, finally. And then the Georgia General Assembly convened.
“Rather than busy itself with a growth-oriented agenda that might capitalize on the shifting economic tide, lawmakers instead proposed a smattering of bills that would facilitate discrimination by government and business against law-abiding Georgians. Just what we need: something to chase away business and jobs.”
Flores, who said the proposal would facilitate discrimination against gays and lesbians, cohabitating unmarried couples, and divorced persons, said she was terrified government would “grow to a size to empower itself and others to discriminate.”
“Faith genuinely informs my politics, just as it does for Sen. Santorum,” she wrote. “I place my faith in God, not government — and I don’t need government to tell me how to exercise my faith. The expression of my faith free of government intrusion is not in jeopardy, I am certain. But the safety and wellness of some among us are.”
The vehicle for the commentary’s publication is worth noting: the Ledger-Enquirer is the largest newspaper in the district of Senator Josh McKoon, the chief sponsor of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and one of the most vocal proponents in the legislature of related proposals.
Opportunity.US, a young conservative group led by the grandson of former Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., came out Monday in opposition to Georgia’s First Amendment Defense Act, a controversial religious liberty proposal that critics argue would facilitate discrimination against gays and lesbians.
“Young professionals today demand that political leaders embrace policies ensuring our competitiveness and equality of opportunity,” Beau Allen, Opportunity.US co-founder, said in a statement provided to Tipsheet. “Opportunity.US stands with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and like-minded groups who fiercely oppose the proposed First Amendment Defense Act, a discriminatory bill which threatens the progress our great City and State has made in the past decades.
“The next generation of our nation’s leaders believe in an inclusive society creating economic and political opportunity for all.”
Opportunity.US, a social welfare outgrowth of the Republican super PAC Concord 51, has previously played in Georgia, endorsing U.S. Senator David Perdue and Georgia state Sen. Hunter Hill.