Disney, Marvel, Time Warner and other corporations were threatening to boycott the state of Georgia if the Governor signed House Bill 757. The threats carried weight because these film corporations have brought substantial economic growth to the state. The Governor’s office estimates that the film and TV industries spent $1.7 billion in Georgia during the fiscal year of 2015, which is why some have termed the state “Hollywood of the South”. Dozens of industry celebrities including Anne Hathaway, Julianne Moore, Seth MacFarlane and Harvey Weinstein also expressed opposition to the bill. The NFL said this would affect their decision as to whether or not Atlanta will host the Super Bowl.
Fortunately for the gay rights/anti-religious freedom zealots and their corporate cronies in Hollywood, Governor Nathan Deal is a coward. This morning Deal vetoed the measure, claiming that it “doesn’t reflect the character of our state or the character of its people.” He added, “I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia.”
There is nothing tolerant about forcing someone to participate in a wedding ceremony that violates their faith.
It was a religious liberty bill, similar to the one signed by Governor Mike Pence of Indiana last year. This bill protected pastors (priests, rabbis, Imams, etc.) and religious institutions from being forced to officiate or host a wedding ceremony that conflicts with their religious beliefs (like a Catholic Priest or a Jewish Synagogue that refuses to do a same sex marriage).
Personally I support gay marriage. I also believe in protecting the civil liberties of those who don’t. There is nothing tolerant about forcing someone to participate in a wedding ceremony that violates their faith.
The bill had already been watered down in the legislative committee process so that it no longer included provisions that protected florists, bakers, caterers and others in the wedding business from being coerced into participating in ceremonies that contridict their religious beliefs. But it still would’ve been a step in the right direction.
I could tell by the way he talked this guy was an establishment shill with no principles. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, prior to his veto Gov. Deal said he was “pleasantly surprised” lawmakers worked out a compromise (watered down the bill), but expressed that it would be a tough decision. There is nothing admirable about compromising the civil liberties and 1st Amendment rights of the people. When big corporations bully and threaten you like this, the right thing to do is to take a stand for freedom and let the chips fall where they may.
This fight isn’t quite over yet. Georgia’s Legislature could override Governor Deal. They would need one extra vote in the Senate, and another 16 in the House to get the supermajorities needed to overcome his veto. It’s a long shot, but worth a try. If you live in Georgia, text VETO to 52886 to urge your state legislator to stand for religious liberty and override the Governor’s veto.
Written By Jason O’Day, Founder and Operations Manager of American Exceptionalism