Faced with a growing revolt from corporations including the National Football League, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal today vetoed the state’s so-called religious liberty bill. Governor Deal caved in to pressure from the homosexual lobby days after a firestorm of outrage over North Carolina’s bill to keep sexual predators and cross-dressing perverts out of women’s restrooms. There was also the implied threat by the NFL to forbid the state from hosting an upcoming Super Bowl in the brand spanking new $1.4 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a taxpayer subsidized temple of opulence and the future home of the Atlanta Falcons. It was Falcons owner and Home Depot magnate Arthur Blank who showed Deal who is really boss with his public criticism of the bill. Numerous big corporations including Disney, Apple and Atlanta based Coca Cola also vehemently opposed the House Bill 757. It was a day of celebration for LGBT activists and a sobering comeuppance to social conservatives who were once again given a lesson that money is all that matters in modern America.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that “Nathan Deal vetoes Georgia’s ‘religious liberty’ bill”:
Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday vetoed the “religious liberty” bill that triggered a wave of criticism from gay rights groups and business leaders and presented him with one of the most consequential challenges he’s faced since his election to Georgia’s top office.
In a press conference at the state Capitol, Deal said House Bill 757 doesn’t reflect Georgia’s welcoming image as a state full of “warm, friendly and loving people” – and warned critics that he doesn’t respond well to threats of payback for rejecting the measure.
“Our people work side by side without regard to the color of our skin, or the religion we adhere to. We are working to make life better for our families and our communities. That is the character of Georgia. I intend to do my part to keep it that way,” he said. “For that reason, I will veto HB 757.”
The two-term Republican has been besieged by all sides over the controversial measure, and his office has received thousands of emails and hundreds of calls on the debate. The tension was amplified by a steady stream of corporate titans who urged him to veto the bill – and threatened to pull investments from Georgia if it became law.
The governor’s veto infuriated religious conservatives who considered the measure, House Bill 757, their top priority. This is the third legislative session they’ve sought to strengthen legal protections from opponents of gay marriage, but last year’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex weddings galvanized their efforts.
It is also likely to herald a more acrimonious relationship between Deal, who campaigned on a pro-business platform, and the evangelical wing of the Georgia Republican party. Already, prominent conservatives have vowed to revive the measure next year.
The governor, though, had ample cover from the measure’s critics. Executives from dozens of big-name companies, including Disney, Apple, Time Warner, Intel and Salesforce, called on the governor to veto the bill. The NFL warned it could risk Atlanta’s bid for the Super Bowl and the NCAA hinted it could influence the state’s ability to host championship games. And Deal’s office said two economic development prospects have already abandoned Georgia because of the legislation.
The move infuriated social conservative leaders who had backed the bill but Deal was reelected in 2014 and won’t have to face the voters again, unless of course he is able to parlay the wave of corporate goodwill that he just reaped into financial backing if he makes a run for the U.S. Senate. In the other half of the one-two sucker punch inflicted on culture warriors today the ACLU has filed a lawsuit over North Carolina’s new law. This latest skirmish shows that those who predicted the end of the culture wars were wrong as usual and the decision comes just in time to fire up voters for the upcoming elections.