On Monday morning, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed HB 757, a “religious freedom” anti-LGBT bill that sparked much controversy after it was passed by Georgia’s legislature.
HB 757 was proclaimed as a First Amendment Defense Act bill that protected the “religious freedoms” of Georgia citizens, allowing “faith-based organizations” to deny services to anyone who violated their beliefs or faith. This includes denying someone from renting or leasing property, as well as refusing to perform marriage ceremonies.
Georgia hosts several large corporations, and many major studios film in the state—within the past week, Disney, Marvel, Time Warner, and Viacom all threatened to move their business from Georgia if the discriminatory bill was signed into law. This would gut Georgia a significant portion of the $1.7 billion in revenue it receives from the film and television industry.
More than 500 corporations also banded together to protest the bill via Georgia Prospers, which is a “coalition devoted to opposing discrimination.” This included Coca-Cola, Hope Depot, Marriot, and UPS, while the NFL said it may refuse to hold a Super Bowl in Georgia.
According to New Civil Rights Movement, Gov. Deal claimed he would not “bow to threats” of these businesses, yet sensing a major loss to Georgia’s revenue stream, signed a veto to HB 757 today.
In his comments, Deal states that, “I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community. I believe it is about the character of the state, and the character of our people.”
Deal’s real motivation may lie more in what AJC notes: “Deal has zealously guarded the state’s pro-business reputation, which he often says has made Georgia the ‘No. 1 place in the nation to do business.’”
Regardless of his true motives, it is a positive move for the state that Deal has decided to veto the bill. Just last week, North Carolina passed one of the most appalling anti-LGBT pieces of legislation during a special session of Congress that occurred within a day.
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