Georgia’s legislative fights over gay rights vs. religious freedom have made headlines before.
In fact, I wrote a 2016 post headlined “Down in Georgia, here's what the news media's love of 'religious liberty' scare quotes tells you.”
I noted then that most major media insisted on scare quotes around "religious liberty" or "religious freedom.”
By the way, Dictionary.com defines scare quotes this way:
A pair of quotation marks used around a term or phrase to indicate that the writer does not think it is being used appropriately or that the writer is using it in a specialized sense.
Fast-forward to present day, and a similar bill is making news again in Atlanta. The differing treatments of that bill by The Associated Press and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are interesting.
On the one hand, scare quotes still seem to be in vogue at AP, which has this headline:
'Religious liberties' bill renews a recurring Georgia debate
AP’s lede also relies on scare quotes:
ATLANTA (AP) — A ‘religious liberties’ bill that aims to add greater protections for personal beliefs has renewed a recurring debate in Georgia about discrimination and religious freedom.
Republican state Sen. Marty Harbin of Tyrone said Thursday his proposal was drafted to mirror the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by Congress in 1993 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
“I believe that Georgians need to be fully protected under the First Amendment from not only federal law, but also state and local law,” Harbin said at a news conference.
But critics say the bill would allow discrimination against the LGBT community.
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp pledged during his election campaign last year to sign “nothing more, nothing less” than a mirror image of the federal law. His predecessor, GOP Gov. Nathan Deal, vetoed a similar bill passed by lawmakers three years ago amid threats by major companies to boycott Georgia if the measure became law.