Gov. Nathan Deal said he will veto the “religious liberty” bill that placed the rights of anti-LGBT people above LGBT citizens in Georgia.
The measure “doesn’t reflect the character of our state or the character of its people,” the governor said Monday.
“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,” he said.
Last week, HRC praised Disney and Marvel Studios for answering a call to action from HRC President Chad Griffin, who urged Hollywood to abandon future productions in Georgia if Governor Deal signs an anti-LGBT bill, H.B. 757, into law.
“Our message to Governor Nathan Deal was loud and clear: this deplorable legislation was bad for his constituents, bad for business, and bad for Georgia’s future,” said Griffin. “Today, Governor Deal heard the voices of Georgians, civil rights organizations, as well as the many leaders in the entertainment industry and private sector who condemned this attack on the fundamental rights of LGBT people, and he has set an example for other elected officials to follow. Discrimination and intolerance have no place in the United States of America, and we hope North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly are paying close attention to what has transpired in Georgia. They must undo their disgraceful attack on LGBT people in the state’s upcoming legislative session.”
Deal’s statement to the press said he is not vetoing it because of threats.
“Some of those in the religious community who support this bill have resorted to insults that question my moral convictions and my character,” said Deal. “Some within the business community who oppose this bill have resorted to threats of withdrawing jobs from our state. I do not respond well to insults or threats. The people of Georgia deserve a leader who will made sound judgements based on solid reasons that are not inflamed by emotion. That is what I intend to do.
“As I’ve said before, I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia, of which my family and I have been a part of for all of our lives. My decision regarding HB 757 is not just about protecting the faith-based community or providing a business friendly climate for job growth in Georgia. This is about the character of our state and the character of its people. Georgia is a welcoming state filled with warm, friendly and loving people. Our cities and countryside are populated with people who worship God in a myriad of ways and in very diverse settings. Our people work side-by-side without regard to the color of our skin, or the religion to which we adhere. We are working to make life better for our families and our communities. That is the character of Georgia. I intend to do my part to keep it that way.”