Georgia Governor Nathan Deal will veto anti-gay ‘religious freedom’ bill

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced this week he plans to veto the anti-gay “religious freedom” bill, HB 757, which would have let businesses and individuals withhold their services from gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people on so-called religious liberty on the grounds that it is “overly broad.”

“I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith based community,” Deal said. “I believe it is about the character of of state, and the character of our people. Their efforts to purge this bill of any possibility that it would allow or encourage discrimination illustrates how difficult it is to legislate something that is best left to the broad protections of the First Amendment.”

Dozens of large multi-national corporations that do business in Georgia condemned the bill and have threatened to leave the state. Most notably, Disney would have refused to shoot its upcoming films in the state.

According The New Civil Rights Movement, Georgia enjoys a roughly $1.7 billion film and television industry, many of which are major media conglomerates, including 34 entertainment industry giants. Many in the industry said they have made it clear that they will pull their business out of the state should it become law. The NFL has also warned it might refuse to hold a Super Bowl in Georgia should the governor sign the bill into law.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said Deal’s “planned veto will likely infuriate religious conservatives who considered the measure, House Bill 757, their top priority. This is the third legislative session they’ve sought to strengthen legal protections from opponents of gay marriage, but last year’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex weddings galvanized their efforts.”

Gov. Deal has published his full remarks on his website.

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