Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has vetoed a religious liberty bill after the NFL and other large corporations pressured him to make the decision.
The Republican governor vetoed House Bill 757, a bill aimed to protect faith-based believers from being forced to participate in gay weddings, saying it was “discriminatory.”
During his announcement Gov. Deal slammed religious Georgians for their belief in traditional marriage and insisted that the “character” of the state was at risk. Deal went on to claim Georgia is a “welcoming state” that stands against discrimination against gays even at the cost of the loss of religious freedom.
The veto comes on the heels of campaigns mounted by numerous members of the entertainment industry such as Cocoa-Cola, Disney, Time Warner, and even sports concerns such as the NCAA and the National Football League — all of whom warned that they would cancel further projects planned for the state if the religious liberty bill was signed into law.
The NFL in particular warned it would eliminate Georgia from the running for future Super Bowls while the NCAA said it may ban playoff games from being played in the Peach State.
“NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites,” the NFL said in a statement last week.
In fact, Gov. Deal’s office already reported that two development deals were canceled over the threat of the law but did not detail what projects he meant.
Still, only minutes after the veto was announced, State Senator Mike Crane called for the upper chamber to override the governor’s veto.
Senator Crane said Deal’s veto “is another example of how the political class is bought and paid for by corporations and lobbyists. Rather than standing up and protecting the 1st Amendment, the political class would rather sacrifice those rights to keep the money flowing.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org