Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia has stated that he will veto House Bill 757, which would have provided legal protection to faith based groups if they refused to provide “social, educational or charitable services” if they felt doing so would violate their religious beliefs. The bill has attracted fierce criticism for being “anti LGBT.”
The Georgia General Assembly voted in favor of the bill by a hefty margin more than a week ago. Since then, the governor has received intense pressure from both its supporters and opponents. Organizations and businesses, including the Super Bowl, Netflix and Marvel Studios, threatened to cease operations in Georgia should the bill pass.
“I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia,” Deal said at a news conference at the State Capitol.
“Our actions on House Bill 757 are not just about protecting the faith based community or providing business friendly climate for job growth in Georgia. I believe it is about the character of our state. And the character of our people. They choose to worship God in the way they see fit … I believe that is our best side. And our people every day work side by side without regard to the color of their skin of their fellow mate or the religion that their co-worker might adhere to. They are simply trying to make life better for themselves, their families and their communities. That is the character of Georgia. I intend to do my part to keep it that way.”