Republican Governor of Georgia Stands By Veto of Anti-LGBT Bill, Citing NC and MS Backlash

By Megan Clayton • April 14, 2016 • 2:18 pm

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal is standing by his veto of HB 757, discriminatory legislation that proposed to allow some taxpayer-funded organizations to deny employment or services to LGBT people and others, even endangering existing local nondiscrimination ordinances across the state.

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As evidence that he made the right call, Governor Deal cited the uproar in North Carolina—where HB 2 has stripped municipalities of their ability to pass local LGBT protections—and Mississippi—where HB 1523 has given businesses a broad license to discriminate:

“It’s time to take another deep breath. I see what’s happening in North Carolina. I see what’s happening in Mississippi. And I would hope that many of the ones that are pushing for it would not want the state of Georgia to go through that kind of scenario.”

He also warned that if lawmakers introduced the same legislation or anything like it during the next session—again threatening to mar Georgia’s reputation and expose the state to another nationwide debate—he wouldn’t hesitate to veto again:

“I don’t want to go through the same process all over again. I’ve made my position very clear. I tried to write a very thoughtful veto message. It expressed my concerns and it expressed my reasons for vetoing it. And those reasons won’t change, in my mind.”

Governor Deal vetoed HB 757 on March 28, after a tsunami of criticism from business leaders, athletic organizations, the entertainment industry, people of faith, conservatives, legal experts, activists—pretty much everyone except the extremist lawmakers who rammed the bill through the General Assembly.

Freedom for All Americans is proud to have partnered with local and national organizations to defeat this discriminatory legislation, including Georgia Unites Against Discrimination and Georgia Prospers.

Georgia Unites, a bipartisan grassroots campaign dedicated to protecting gay and transgender Georgians from discrimination, mobilized Georgians from all walks of life into an unyielding coalition that fought HB 757 online, on the ground and anywhere coalition members could make themselves heard. Georgia Prospers, a partnership of local and national business leaders dedicated to promoting an inclusive, welcoming business climate, provided a critical unified voice that highlighted the economic harm that could visit Georgia if HB 757 became law.

It is this economic backlash North Carolina and Mississippi are seeing right now, as business leaders in both states rail against HB 2 and HB 1523, with some threatening to leave or halting planned expansions. On Tuesday, Deutsche Bank canceled its plans to invest $9 million in an expansion in Cary, North Carolina, and last week, PayPal withdrew plans to open a Global Operations Center in Charlotte.

Governor Deal was clearly right to veto this shameful bill, and Freedom for All Americans applauds his courage and foresight in standing by it now.


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