Elton John, one of the world's most widely celebrated gay musical sensations, took pen to paper to write an opinion piece for the Atlanta Journal Constitution that denounced Georgia's proposed "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" as a possible driver of hate.
Supporters say the law would basically reinforce the First Amendment by allowing business owners and individuals with religious beliefs the ability to opt out of serving certain customers, for certain reasons – including the right to turn down gays because of long-held biblically based views against homosexuality. Opponents, however, say the bill will lead to government-sponsored discrimination.
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"What SB 129 will really do is institutionalize the hate some people hold in their hearts against other people," wrote John, who married his long-time partner, David Furnish, in December, shortly after gay marriage became legal in England. "It will turn back the clock on the progress we have made – not only in the fight against HIV, but also in the struggle for a more equal and just society."
John publicly identified as gay in 1988, and has lived for 25 years in Atlanta. He's established the Elton John AIDS Foundation to help provide dignity to those with the disease and education to those who can help fight it, MSNBC reported.
On Friday, however, he said that Georgia's proposed law, which passed the Senate and now sits in the House, could lead to discrimination against HIV-positive individuals.
"To be clear, I firmly believe in freedom of religion," he wrote. "Everyone has the right to worship as they choose. But I also believe in justice, equality and the rule of law. We can't just let people refuse to follow a law because they don't like it. And we can't just grant special exemptions that allow people to discriminate at will."