Breaking: Georgia Governor Will Veto Anti-Gay ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

Georgia Governor promises to veto anti-gay bill disguised as "religious freedoms" bill.

Credit: Office of the Governor

Credit: Office of the Governor

Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal just pledged to veto the HB 757, an anti-gay bill disguised as a bill for religious protections, because it defies “the character of our state and the character of its people.”

The final version of HB 757 outlined certain actions that religious leaders, faith-based organizations, and any people of faith would not have to perform if the action went against their religion. The actions include solemnizing a marriage, attending certain marriages, hiring church personnel or renting church property. Though there is controversy over the government forcing any of these organizations or people to perform the actions should the bill be vetoed, Governor Deal points out that none of the instances that the bill outlines have occurred in Georgia and enacting the law would be allowing the state to have broad discriminatory practices.

This news comes after North Carolina just fast-tracked an anti-LGBT law that prevents transgender people from using the bathroom with their associated gender and instead based on their “biological sex” and removes the ability for municipalities and counties to make their own non-discriminatory laws.

For Georgia, there is much at stake if this bill were to become actualized into law because many big companies have shown their disapproval and stated that they would move their business out of Georgia. The state is a hub for the entertainment industry, and major studios like Disney, Time Warner, AMC, and Viacom that are in Georgia have urged the Governor to veto the bill. Many of these major studios and companies, as many as 34 of them to be exact, have threatened to move their business out of the state, effectively taking their revenue and tax dollars with them, if the bill were to be passed.

Although it may be driven by a fear for the state’s economy, Governor Deal’s announcement is a positive one for the LGBTQ community not only in the state but for the entire country. This veto shows that even in an increasingly conservative state like Georgia, progress toward a more accepting and open nation can be achieved. For those that believe the rights of religious people are being infringed upon, Deal reminds us that, “I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith based community.”

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