GOP Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is feeling the heat after the state Senate passed a "license to discriminate" bill Friday that was sent back to the House for further consideration. Patrick Saunders has an update on the mounting pressure to reject the law as written:
373K, a gay-owned Decatur-based telecom company, tweeted “We are very saddened by the Georgia Senate which passed #HB757 also known as #FADA. It’s time to relocate.”
Brian Tolleson, the openly gay CEO of Atlanta-based digital entertainment company BARK BARK who had a hand in the creation of the LGBT Institute at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, shed light on what the bill’s passage could mean for the state’s film and TV industry. Tolleson to the AJC:
“This very assembly working on this bill has invested billions of taxpayer dollars growing an industry that would leave this state,” said Tolleson, who has clients from New York City to Los Angeles. “They will boycott coming to shoot anything here. The powers that be in the industry really want to defeat Georgia’s rise as entertainment destination. And we’re handing it to them on a silver platter.”
The House bill, known as the “Pastor Protection Act,” was originally intended to shield clergy from having to perform same-sex weddings. But the Senate amended the bill to allow individuals and taxpayer-funded religious organizations to refuse services to same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs. In fact, some believe the language would also empower businesses with faith-based missions to discriminate.
As of Monday evening, it appeared that Gov. Deal and House leadership were trepidatious about the law's impact.
House Speaker David Ralston, the chamber's top Republican, confirmed Deal's office is working with General Assembly leaders and said lawmakers shouldn't ignore concerns from top Georgia companies or "the consequences other states have experienced."
"I think that should counsel us to move deliberately and carefully and thoroughly on this issue," he said. "It's a very emotional issue; it's an issue that's going to have consequences."