ATLANTA (TAB) — A religious freedom bill in Georgia awaiting Gov. Nathan Deal’s signature has received pushback from major organizations like Disney and the NFL. Deal has until May 3 to sign or veto House Bill 757.
Disney says it will not film in the state of Georgia if the bill is passed and the NFL has threatened that passing the bill could affect Atlanta’s chances of hosting the Super Bowl in 2019 or 2020, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Coca-Cola and Home Depot also have spoken out against the bill.
HB757, also known as the Pastor Protection Act, would confirm that religious officials aren’t required by law to participate in gay “marriage” ceremonies. The bill, which passed 161–0 in the Georgia House earlier this month, also seeks to “protect property owners which are religious organizations against infringement of religious freedom,” according to The Christian Post.
Critics of the bill say it opens the door for discrimination.
The film industry has generated approximately $6 billion for Georgia’s economy thanks to the state’s tax incentives that lower the cost of production, according to TIME.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins was reported saying the bill doesn’t provide as much religious freedom as it should, as it has been heavily compromised.
“Unlike the original version, only a fraction of faith-based groups and churches will have safe harbor from the government’s ruthless attacks on Christians,” he said. “But instead of actually reading the bill, the NFL and other businesses seem quite content to take the media’s misleading word for it. … If anything, [the bill] does as much to quarantine faith as it does to defend it.”
No other major production studios have followed Disney’s lead at this time.
Deal said of the bill, “I have heard from both sides and I’m sure I’ll continue to hear from both sides. I will take their opinions into consideration and I’ll do what I’m required to do, which is make the difficult decision on a very difficult subject,” reported The Christian Post.