GOP Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal continues to be in the hot seat over the fate of an anti-LGBT “religious freedom” bill that has come down to either his signature or his veto.
Most notably, the NFL on Friday threatened to block Georgia from getting a Super Bowl if Deal signs the bill into law, while the NCAA, Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks issued statements of their own. But that could be the least of the state's worries:
Business leaders across the state have warned the legislature of the potential financial impact the bill could have, with some studies pinning losses as high as $2 billion. A number of high-profile businesses, including Google, Twitter and Microsoft, have joined the Georgia Prospers coalition to oppose the bill.
A GOP lobbyist and fundraiser for the Republican Governor's Association who's spoken to Deal and his aides told me that the governor "wants" to veto the bill for the sake of the Georgia economy, among other reasons, but he's still trying to find some middle ground.
“He is also getting immense pressure from national party leaders not to repeat Governor Pence's mistake from last year in Indiana,” the lobbyist said. “This is Deal's legacy; he knows it; he's taking his time to figure out how to make everyone happy. In the end, he'll realize he can't make everyone happy, but I think he's still trying to find that solution that doesn't exist.”
The clock will run out on Deal on May 3, the date by which he must decide whether to sign or veto the legislation, which would make it legal for faith-based groups to discriminate against LGBTQ people in hiring as well as dispensation of goods and services for anything that violates the organization’s “religious belief” or any event they find “objectionable.” (Yes, “objectionable”—as in, when two people who love each other get married.) We need to keep the pressure coming from all directions, so use whatever tools you have at your disposal.
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