SAVANNAH, Ga. – The Latest on a Georgia lawmaker's proposal to update a 1951 state law passed to unmask the Ku Klux Klan (all times local):
A Georgia lawmaker says he's backing off a proposal to update a 1951 state law used to unmask the Ku Klux Klan after an angry backlash from advocates saying his changes targeted Muslim women.
Republican state Rep. Jason Spencer said in a statement posted Thursday on the website of the Georgia House of Representatives that he is dropping his proposal "due to the visceral reaction it has created."
The American Civil Liberties Union and Muslim advocacy groups said Spencer's bill to change the 65-year-old anti-Klan law aimed to prevent Muslim women from wearing scarves and other religious headgear to cover their faces in public.
Spencer insisted he wasn't targeting any specific groups. His bill made no mention of Muslims or religious garb.
Advocates say a Georgia lawmaker appears to target Muslim women with proposed changes to a 1951 state law passed to stop the Ku Klux Klan from wearing masks at public rallies.
Muslim-American groups and the American Civil Liberties Union are condemning the proposal by Republican state Rep. Jason Spencer as a veiled attempt to ban Muslim women from wearing scarves and other religious headgear to cover their faces in public.
Spencer says he's not targeting any specific group. His bill doesn't mention Islam or religious garments, though it does explicitly note the anti-Klan law would apply to women.
Even if it passed, Spencer's bill likely wouldn't affect Muslim women. The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled the 1951 law applies only to masks worn for the purpose of intimidating others.