On Monday Georgia Governor Nathan Deal vetoed the Free Exercise Protection Act, a controversial so-called “religious freedom” bill passed last week by the Georgia General Assembly. Although the passed legislation was less comprehensive than the First Amendment Defense Act that preceded it, business and community leaders both warned of its potential to allow discrimination against members of the LGBT community.
Deal said the legislation, House Bill 757, did not represent the “warm, friendly and loving people” of Georgia. In a conference at the Capitol he said, “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.”
The legislation sparked widespread opposition from major business interests in the state, including entertainment companies and some of Georgia’s most iconic brands. In a tweet, Georgia Prospers praised deal for his courage.
— Georgia Prospers (@GAprospers) March 28, 2016
The business coalition, which opposed HB 757, represents more than 400 businesses that operate in the state, including The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot, and UPS. Nevertheless, a number of state lawmakers have vowed to work to overturn the governor’s decision.