greg kirk | WABE 90.1 FM

greg kirk

Georgia state capitol
Nick Nesmith / WABE

 

A controversial bill that would require Georgia colleges to report campus sexual assaults to law enforcement stalled Thursday in the state Senate.

 

The bill has been vigorously opposed by rape survivors and groups advocating for them. They say mandating police reporting would discourage survivors from coming forward.

 

Michell Eloy / WABE

David Pippen says he’s always known he wanted kids, but the timing was never quite right until now.

“I look back on my life and I always think, ‘God, I’m so freaking fortunate,’” Pippen says. “I am so lucky to do what I do, and we have so much to give.”

The “we” Pippen is talking about is he and his husband, Brad Resler.

The Atlanta couple have been together for 18 years and legally married for the past three.

Two high profile bills meant to expand religious freedom in Georgia have been combined in the state legislature: the “Pastor Protection Act” meant to reassure clergy they won’t be required to marry same-sex couples, and the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) which allows religious organizations to deny services to same-sex couples.

Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, the sponsor of the FADA, proposed in the Senate Rules Committee Tuesday a new version of the “Pastor Protection Act” that includes slightly revised language from his bill.

State Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, speaks on a bill he plans to introduce that provides religious exemptions in the wake of last year's U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, filed Thursday what he called the "First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia." Contrary to numerous statements he has made over the past few weeks, Kirk said the bill would not include specific protections to public employees who refuse to perform their duties because they oppose same-sex marriage.

“This is about the fourth or fifth edition of the bill so I’ve listened and I’ve heard what the concerns were,” Kirk said, "and in the end I said, you know what, I think we just need to remove that from the equation, and that’s what I did."

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) during a hearing at the Senate Finance Committee, May, 2013.
Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson said Thursday that laws addressing conflicts between same-sex marriage and religious freedom should be left to Congress and the federal government.

Last year, Isakson and Georgia's other senator, Republican David Perdue, co-sponsored a bill called the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which was designed to protect people who act on their religious opposition to same-sex marriage.

Pages