Courtesy CBS46
Courtesy CBS46

The Georgia Senate passed House Bill 757 – the so-called “religious liberty” bill – on Wednesday night by a vote of 37-18. The legislation is now on its way to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk, but whether he will sign it remains to be seen. Last week, Deal indicated he would veto any bill that would actively allow discrimination based on religious beliefs.

The state has already faced international backlash over the issue with Home Depot, Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines strongly against the legislation.  Heavy hitters including Virgin Atlantic CEO Richard Branson, Dell Computers founder Michael Dell and Microsoft president Brad Smith also spoke out against the bill.

The intent of the bill was originally to protect clergy from having to perform same-sex marriages, but has, according to opponents, since evolved into allowing faith-based organizations that receive taxpayer money to refuse services to LGBT people, singles, unmarried partners and those of other faiths.

Along with the potential for legalizing discrimination against an array of citizens, opponents said Georgia could face an economic backlash – especially in the movie industry – if the bill is signed into law. Indiana passed similar legislation in 2015 that led to a boycott and backlash that forced the governor and legislature to amend its “religious freedom restoration act” legislation.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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