On Monday, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced that he would veto a so-called religious freedom bill which has been called discriminatory towards the LGBT community.
“I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia,” the Republican governor declared.
The outcry caused by the bill could have cost Georgia a lot financially as major organizations threatened to boycott the state.
Disney’s Marvel Studios threatened to pull its projects out of the state, and AMC stated that they were considering doing the same.
Additionally, Atlanta was warned by the NFL that Georgia could lose its bid for the 2019 or 2020 Superbowls over the legislation.
“In light of our history, I find it somewhat ironic that some in the religious community today feel that it is necessary for government to confer upon them certain rights and protections,” Deal said at the State Capitol. “If indeed our religious liberty is conferred upon us by God, and not by man-made government, perhaps we should simply heed the hands-off admonition of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
The bill, as written, would allow business owners to deny service based on a person’s sexual orientation. Priests also would be permitted to deny marriages to gay couples.
“We control all the constitutional offices, we control the legislature, and today, the governor has turned his back on millions and millions of people who have very real concerns about what their religious freedom looks like in the wake of a very fluid legal environment,” said State Senator Josh McKoon, a Republican. “The message that’s been sent by this veto is essentially that it’s open season on people of faith in Georgia.”
Georgia Governor Deal’s promise to veto this religious freedom bill comes a week after Governor Pat McCrory signed a similar bill into law in his state.
[The Associated Press] [The New York Times]