Georgia governor to veto anti-gay bill
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said he will veto the “religious liberty” bill that would have legalized discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The bill “doesn’t reflect the character of our state or the character of its people,” Deal said in prepared remarks Monday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Republican governor also said state legislators should leave freedom of speech and religion to the U.S. Constitution.
“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,” Deal added.
House Bill 757, which passed the Georgia state legislature, would have allowed faith-based organizations to deny services if doing so violated their religious beliefs. Opponents of the measure argued it would provide legal cover to those seeking to discriminate against others based on their sexuality.
Major companies including Disney, Apple, Time Warner, and others called on the governor to veto the bill.
Marvel Studios and its parent company The Walt Disney Co., which uses Georgia’s Pinewood Studios outside Atlanta to film movies like Captain America: Civil War and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, issued a statement last week saying it would stop filming in the state unless the law was rejected.
“Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law,” a Disney spokesperson said.
After Deal said Monday that he would veto the bill, Disney said in a statement: “We applaud Governor Deal for making the right decision on this piece of legislation and look forward to continuing our film production in Georgia.”
The Motion Picture Association of America is also among those who spoke out against the bill, as did Tyler Perry, whose Tyler Perry Studios is based in Atlanta.
“At Tyler Perry Studios, we believe in inclusion and equality for all people. We do not tolerate bigotry, division and discrimination,” a spokesperson for the studio said, according to Variety. “We have tremendous confidence in Governor Deal’s leadership and ability to continue to lead our great state forward and urge him to veto this bill.”
This post has been updated.