Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) on Tuesday vetoed legislation designed to protect state residents acting on their religious beliefs, including opponents of same-sex marriage. House Bill 757 is a proposed, controversial law that critics, and a mounting number of prominent Georgia business owners, contend would legalize anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Groups that supported the bill, including the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, indicate they will fight to revive the legislation.
For background regarding Georgia's religious exemptions' House Bill 757, being referenced by some as an "Indiana-style license to discriminate bill," which was on the desk of the governor to approve or veto, read The Gospel Herald article: Atlanta May Lose Super Bowl Bid Due to Georgia Religious Exemptions' Bill, Warns NFL
Deal had until May 3 to decide whether to sign it.
The bill would have protected clergy who won't perform same-sex marriages, and people who won't support a wedding for religious reasons. Churches and affiliated religious groups also could have declined to serve or hire someone based on their faith.
The bill's opponents said it could have trampled local ordinances protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, reports WBT Radio.
Coca-Cola and other big-name Georgia companies joined the NFL, prominent Hollywood figures and film studios urging Deal to reject the proposal. Some threatened to boycott the state if Deal didn't veto it. Read previous The Gospel Herald coverage: Disney, Marvel Studios Join Threats to Boycott Georgia If Anti-Gay Bill Becomes Law
Deal said the nation's founders believed that liberties, including religious freedom, "were given by God and not by man's government." He said it was therefore unnecessary and unwise to legislate "what those liberties included."
Mike Griffin, spokesman for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, said the legislation is needed to prevent discrimination against people of faith.
"We're not going to quit," said Griffin. "We definitely don't want to have Gov. Deal listening to Wall Street and Hollywood over the citizens of the state of Georgia who expect him to support religious liberty."
What remains to be seen is whether there's enough support among lawmakers to call a special session to revisit the proposal this summer or whether it will have to wait until the 2017 legislative session convenes in January, reports Yahoo.
Lawmakers already left the Capitol for the year, adjourning Thursday. They would need a three-fifths majority of both houses to ask the governor to convene a special session, and even then, vote totals on the bill suggest they lack the two-thirds vote in both chambers to override his veto.