Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declares he will veto ‘Religious Freedom’ bill
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has declared that he will veto the so-called “Religious Freedom” bill, stressing that the state’s faith-based community can be also protected without discriminating against anybody.
The controversial House Bill 575 (HB 575) was crafted after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex or gay marriages. If approved by lawmakers, it would allow faith-based groups to decide what services they would offer to people who have different beliefs.
Declaring his stance, Gov. Deal said, “Had the bill been the so-called ‘Pastor Protection Act’ that passed the House of Representatives, I would have signed it. I had no issue with that bill … Many have concern that they may encourage or allow discrimination.”
Lonzo Smith, Vice President of Augusta Pride, called the governor’s decision “monumental,” and added that the bill didn’t represent the character of Georgia.
Brad Owens, the Augusta Film Office Director, welcomed the decision, saying the bill would have impacted the state’s film industry.
Georgia ranks third in film production, behind the states of California and New York; and a number of film production companies have threatened to leave the state if the bill is signed into law.
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