Governor to veto anti-LGBT bill after Hollywood flexes its muscle

Governor Nathan Deal

Governor Nathan Deal

Georgia’s governor has agreed to veto an anti-LGBT bill following immense pressure from human rights activists, businesses and even Hollywood itself.

Governor Nathan Deal announced on Monday that he would reject bill H.B. 757, which was earlier approved by the US state’s lawmakers.

The legislation would have allowed businesses and taxpayer-funded religious organisations to discriminate and deny service to LGBT people.

In a statement, Deal said the bill’s misguided attempts to protect religious freedom could “lead to discrimination, even though it may be unintentional. That is too great a risk to take.”

He added that, “I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia…”

Deal was warned by Hollywood studios, including Marvel and Disney, that they would boycott the state, which has become an increasingly popular locations for film and television shoots; bringing millions into the state coffers.

The proposed law was also lambasted by major corporations, including Apple, Dell, Dow Chemical Company, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Hilton, Intel, Live Nation Entertainment, Microsoft, Paypal, Twitter, Unilever and Virgin.

The governor acknowledged the importance of maintaining “a business friendly climate for job growth” but also said that he was motivated to ensure that Georgia remains a “welcoming state filled with warm, friendly and loving people.”

“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,” commented Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin.

“Today, Governor Deal heard the voices of Georgians, civil rights organisations, 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,” Griffin said.

In the wake of same-sex marriage being legalised in the US last year, conservative lawmakers across the country responded with a raft of anti-LGBT state legislation. Last week, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a discriminatory bill into law despite widespread condemnation.

The law overturns existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in North Carolina and prevents similar provisions from being passed by cities in the future. It also forces transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity.

“We hope North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly are paying close attention to what has transpired in Georgia,” said Griffin. “They must undo their disgraceful attack on LGBT people in the state’s upcoming legislative session.”

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