A Georgia state representative wants to outlaw “religious intimidation” and has gone as far as introducing a bill that would help accomplish such.
State Representative Virgil Fludd, a Democrat from Tyrone, filed a bill he says is written to take the place of hate crimes in Georgia. Georgia does not currently have “hate crime laws” as they were ruled unconstitutionally “vague” in the early 2000’s. it is one of just four states that does not.
Fludd’s bill is a reponse to the mass murder at a Charleston Church in June of 2015 and as a native of the South Carolina town, Fludd proposed making it a felony to “intimidate or harass another individual because of such individual’s religion.” The law would only come into play in instances of property damage, physical contact, or threats of property damage/contact.
Opponents of the law say legislation such as this would not have prevented a massacre like the one in Charleston and is not likely to deter future criminals who intend to commit similar crimes. Other says gay rights groups may oppose the bill because it does not protect sexual orientation like hate crime laws do in other states.