The moment when a 'religious liberty' debate connected the KKK, Beyonce and the Black Panthers

Sen Marty Harbin, R-Tyrone , left, congratulaFebruary passage of HB 757. The bill would enable faith-based organizations and individuals to opt out of serving couples -- gay, straight or unmarried – or from following anti-discrimination requirements if they cite a sincerely held religious belief. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com
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Sen Marty Harbin, R-Tyrone , left, congratulaFebruary passage of HB 757. The bill would enable faith-based organizations and individuals to opt out of serving couples -- gay, straight or unmarried – or from following anti-discrimination requirements if they cite a sincerely held religious belief. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

Credit: Jim Galloway

Credit: Jim Galloway

Opponents of same-sex marriage won a major victory Friday, when the Georgia Senate approved a measure allowing them to cite religious beliefs in denying service to gay couples. From our AJC colleague Kristina Torres:

Passage of House Bill 757 came against the wishes of the powerful Metro Atlanta Chamber, which went on record Friday opposing the vote. So did the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association, Hilton Worldwide, Marriott and InterContinental Hotels Group, which all said the bill would have a chilling effect on Georgia's reputation for both business and tourism.

Georgia Equality, an opponent of the bill,  captured one of the more awkward moments of Friday afternoon’s debate, when Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur, questioned Kirk about whether his bill would give the Ku Klux Klan cover – should that organization cite religious beliefs as a motivation. Kirk offered up Beyonce, her Super Bowl performance, and the Black Panthers as an equivalent:

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