NFL Sounds Off on Anti-LGBT Bills, with Potential Consequences for Georgia

By Adam Polaski • March 18, 2016 • 5:18 pm

The National Football League (NFL) is weighing in on anti-LGBT legislation surging through state legislatures – most recently in Georgia – and its statement could have major implications for Atlanta’s long-hoped chances to host a Super Bowl. In a statement, the NFL told The Atlanta Journal Constitution that state and local non-discrimination protections were definitely a factor when it came to selecting host cities for one of the country’s most-hyped annual events. 

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League Spokesman Brian McCarthy said:

“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.”

Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe said today:

“The NFL is doing the right thing in standing against any proposal like HB 757 – which clearly singles out certain groups of people, like LGBT Georgians, for discrimination. Governor Deal has not yet announced his intentions on this revised version of the legislation, and yet even the chance of it becoming law is producing such forceful and wide-ranging opposition from across the business and sports communities. It should be clear to Governor Deal that any action other than a firm veto will cause immediate and, possibly, irreparable harm to Georgia’s economy and its reputation.”

HB757, a religious exemption bill that allows any individual to cite their faith beliefs as an excuse to ignore any law, is designed to target members of the LGBT community. It is so extreme that the bill would even void local ordinances – including one in Atlanta – that already protect from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. That would, of course, pose a big problem for Atlanta’s hopes to host a Super Bowl.

The NFL isn’t the only major organization speaking out against the legislation. Members of the Georgia Prospers coalition, a group of nearly 500 businesses supporting nondiscrimination protections, also are speaking out against the proposal. Businesses leading the charge against anti-LGBT bills include Salesforce, Dow Chemical, Intel, Yelp, and Twitter.

Freedom for All Americans is proud to stand with our national and state partners in the Georgia Unites Against Discrimination coalition against discriminatory bills such as HB 757. FFAA will continue working through the coalition to defeat the License to Discriminate and other anti-LGBT bills, and advance support for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that extend to all Georgians.


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