Georgia’s governor has vetoed a controversial “religious liberty” bill that would have permitted discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“Our people work side by side without regard to the color of our skin, or the religion we adhere to,” Republican Gov. Nathan Deal said this morning in a press conference. “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. For that reason, I will veto HB 757.”
Dozens of corporations, including Apple, the NBA, DC Comics parent company Time Warner and AMC Networks had urged Deal to reject the legislation. Disney and Marvel Studios had gone as far as to threaten to boycott the state if the bill were signed into law.
Passed unexpectedly March 17 by the Georgia legislature, the “Free Exercise Protection Act” would allow faith-based organizations to deny service or employment to anyone who violates their “sincerely held religious belief.” Opponents argued the bill provided legal cover for anyone who wished to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, conservative lawmakers had already threatened to call a “veto session” if Deal were to reject the bill. However, they would need a three-fifths majority in both chambers simply to call a special session, and a two-thirds majority to override the governor’s veto.
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