Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal To Veto Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill

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March 28, 2016 10:17 a.m.

Georgia’s Republican Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday will veto a so-called “religious liberty” bill that had been criticized by civil rights groups for being anti-LGBT, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Deal said that the legislation “doesn’t reflect the character of our state or the character of its people.”

“Georgia is a welcoming state. It is full of loving, kind and generous people and that is what we should want,” he said at the press conference announcing the veto.

The bill was passed by the Georgia legislature this month at the urging of religious conservatives, who have pushed legislation across the country that they say will protect the religious freedoms of those who oppose same-sex marriage in the wake of the Supreme Court decision legalizing it nationwide. Civil rights groups argue that the religious rights the legislation purports to advance are already protected by the Constitution, and the bills instead enshrine anti-LGBT discrimination.

The Georgia bill would have allowed ministers to refuse to perform same-sex marriages and would have let religious organizations refuse to rent out their space for ceremonies to which they object.

A number of businesses came out against the legislation, including movie studios, which threatened to move production of films slated for Georgia to other states, and Time Warner.

Meanwhile, anti-LGBT “religious liberty” legislation signed by North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory (R) last week faces a lawsuit from civil rights groups.

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