Governor Nathan Deal is vetoing Georgia's controversial HB 757, a bill that would've allowed businesses to deny services to LGBT people as a means of preserving religious freedom. Deal's veto is arriving less than a week after a large group of entertainment and technology companies spoke out against the bill, including a wide array of Hollywood executives, actors, directors, and producers. "I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia, of which I and my family have been a part of for all of our lives," said Deal. "Georgia is a welcoming state... I intend to do my part to keep it that way. For that reason, I will veto House Bill 757."
Entertainment industry representatives weren't the only people to vocally condemn the bill. Companies like Coca-Cola and Home Depot — both of which have major presence in the state — spoke out against the bill, and others that do business there threatened to reconsider their position in Georgia if the bill was made law. The NFL said the bill could jeopardize Atlanta's status as a potential Super Bowl host in the future if it was made office, and the NCAA made a similar promise regarding its various championship games.
"I do not respond well to insults or threats"
Governor Deal denied the pressure from employers and businesses had anything to do with his decision to veto the bill. "Some within the business community who oppose this bill have resorted to threats of withdrawing jobs from our state," said Deal. "I do not respond well to insults or threats. The people of Georgia deserve a leader who will make sound judgments based on solid reasons... That is what I intend to do." The bill's opponents are rejoicing, but their happiness could be in jeopardy if Georgia representatives manage to circumvent the Governor's decision. Some conservative legislators are already calling for a special session that would allow them to override the Governor's veto, and a different version of the bill could be revived next year.