LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in Georgia:
There are currently no explicit, comprehensive statewide laws establishing LGBTQ non-discrimination in Georgia, though several municipalities have local laws.
The Campaign for LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in Georgia:
Georgia Unites Against Discrimination is a bipartisan, grassroots coalition working to protect gay and transgender Georgians from discrimination.
The Latest on LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in Georgia:
In recent years Georgia lawmakers have considered legislation to protect Georgia state employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. A statewide conversation has also begun about the need for state-level civil rights protections, including protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In 2016 lawmakers passed a so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” which sought to make it easier for businesses or individuals to cite their religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate. Thanks to powerful organizing work from Georgia Unites Against Discrimination and the business community in the Peach State, Republican Governor Nathan Deal vetoed the discriminatory legislation in the spring of 2016.
Anti-LGBTQ lawmakers have tried and failed to enact similar laws every year since.
History of LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in Georgia:
- 1978: The Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity is created by the legislature under the Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA). The Commission’s purpose is to “safeguard individuals within the State of Georgia from discrimination in public employment.” FEPA protects employees of the state of Georgia from discrimination in a number of categories, including race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and age.
- 1988: The Georgia Fair Housing Law is enacted, which prohibits discrimination in housing and housing related activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status. This same year, FEPA is amended to include disability and familial status.
- December 4, 2000: Atlanta, the largest city in Georgia, passes a local ordinance protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. On July 16, 2013, the City Council expanded the law to include protections from discrimination based on gender identity.
- July 3, 2013: An ordinance offered by Atlanta Councilmember Alex Wan updates the city’s non-discrimination policies to include gender identity.
- February 12, 2015: With a record-breaking bipartisan array of 77 cosponsors – including 17 Republicans – the Fair Employment Practices Act is introduced in the Georgia Assembly to explicitly protect Georgians from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- April 3, 2015: Following an unprecedented statewide conversation on a so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” the Georgia Legislature does not advance the discriminatory measure, a big success for fair-minded Georgians who support non-discrimination protections.
- March 28, 2016: Republican Governor Nathan Deal vetoes the anti-LGBTQ HB 757, discriminatory legislation that proposed to allow some taxpayer-funded organizations to deny employment or services to LGBT people and others, even endangering existing local nondiscrimination ordinances across the state. Governor Deal’s veto comes after an unprecedented national backlash against the bill, which drew condemnation from businesses, athletic organizations, the entertainment industry, people of faith, conservatives, legal experts and others.
- November 2018-present: A concerted effort in the metro Atlanta area to enact local LGBTQ-inclusive protections leads to several breakthroughs. During that period, Doraville, Clarkston, Chamblee and Dunwoody become the second, third, fourth and fifth cities in Georgia to pass local protections for LGBTQ people.
- November 18, 2019: The city of Decatur unanimously passes citywide LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections, the sixth in the state to do so.
- January 14, 2020: The city council of Brookhaven votes unanimously to enact a comprehensive LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance.
- June 17, 2020: The city of East Point, in metro Atlanta, unanimously passes a sweeping nondiscrimination ordinance.
- June 23, 2020: The Savannah City Council unanimously passes broad nondiscrimination protections for its LGBTQ residents.
- August 6, 2020: The Smyrna City Council passes a long-discussed nondiscrimination ordinance, including comprehensive protections for LGBTQ people.
Municipalities with Non-Discrimination Protections:
The following municipalities protect people from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity/expression:
- City of Atlanta
- City of Brookhaven
- City of Chamblee
- City of Clarkston
- City of Decatur
- City of Doraville
- City of Dunwoody
- City of East Point
- City of Savannah
- City of Smyrna
Last Updated August 7, 2020
2013: Public Policy Polling finds that 72% of Georgians think discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation should be prohibited.
Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital
Case Concerning Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation Under Title VIIKey Date: December 11, 2017 • Supreme Court Denies Review in Case
Status: Petition for Certiorari Denied by U.S. Supreme Court Conference
Legal Team: Lambda Legal
Type: Employment Discrimination
The case dates back to April 2015, when Jameka Evans claimed that her former employer, Georgia Regional Hospital, violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against her because of her sexual orientation and gender non-conformity.Read More