Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has vetoed a controversial bill that would have allowed the open discrimination of the LGBT community. The bill would have allowed people or businesses with strong religious beliefs to deny services to those in same-sex relationships. If the business or an individual person believes that marriage should be between a man and woman, it would have been legal for them to state this as a reason for discrimination. For example, foster agencies, businesses providing services, hotels, etc. can refuse their services on only these grounds. Even government employees (see the Kim Davis case) could openly refuse to offer same-sex couples marriage licenses.
Deal's statement on the subject was a clear one: “Georgia is a welcoming state. It is full of loving, kind and generous people. And that is what we should want,” Deal said during a press conference. “I intend to do my part to keep it that way. For that reason, I will veto House Bill 757.” He went on to say he felt the bill was unnecessary, and those with religious beliefs can still be protected without discrimination against other groups.
Deal had received threats from both sides of the argument -- religious groups who believed their rights were being infringed upon and companies such as Disney (who films the majority of its Marvel films in Atlanta's Pinewood Studios) and AMC (think about the GA scenery of The Walking Dead) had threatened to take their businesses elsewhere if the bill went ahead. Deal addressed these comments in his speech and affirmed that he will not be threatened.
Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce (one of the companies who threatened a Georgia exit) tweeted:
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) March 28, 2016