Monday, March 28, 2016

Georgia Governor Will Veto Religious Liberty Bill

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced this morning that he will veto HB 757, the expansive Free Exercise Protection Act passed earlier this month by the state legislature. (See prior posting.)  As reported by CNN, the Republican governor has been under pressure from major business, technology and entertainment companies to veto the bill which was seen as condoning discrimination against members of the LGBT community.  In his veto message (full text), Gov. Deal said in part:
If indeed our religious liberty is conferred by God and not by man-made government, we should need the “hands off” admonition of the First Amendment to our Constitution. When legislative bodies attempt to do otherwise, the inclusions and omissions in their statues can lead to discrimination, even though it may be unintentional. That is too great a risk to take.
Some of those in the religious community who support this bill have resorted to insults that question my moral convictions and my character. Some within the business community who oppose this bill have resorted to threats of withdrawing jobs from our state. I do not respond well to insults or threats. The people of Georgia deserve a leader who will made sound judgments based on solid reasons that are not inflamed by emotion....
As I've said before, I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith based community in Georgia of which my family and I are a part of for all of our lives.