“Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies,” a Disney spokesman said today, “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.”
Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” is filming at Pinewood Studios outside Atlanta, while “Captain America: Civil War” was shot there last year, both benefiting from the state’s tax incentives for movie and television productions.
The Georgia bill, called the “Free Exercise Protection Act,” was suddenly passed by the legislature on March 17 following two years of debates. The legislation would allow faith-based organizations to deny services to anyone who violates their “sincerely held religious belief,” and fire employees who aren’t in line with those beliefs. It would also require the government to demonstrate a “compelling governmental interest” before it interferes with a person’s exercise of religion.
The bill was opposed by state business groups, who worried Georgia could face the same kind of backlash Indiana did last year over its “religious freedom” law.
The MPAA, which represents major film studios, has called the Georgia bill “discriminatory,” but expressed confidence that Gov. Nathan Deal wouldn’t sign it into law.
The governor has until May 3 to act on the legislation.