Georgia's governor will veto 'religious liberty' bill discriminating against LGBT people

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Georgia governor Nathan Deal says he will veto a bill that would have legalized discrimination against the state's LGBT community.

In a news conference Monday, Deal said his decision was based off what he believed was in keeping with "the character of our state and the character of our people. House Bill 757 would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. "Georgia is a welcoming state. It is full of loving, kind and generous people," he said at a news conference Monday.

Deal added that he found it ironic that the same people who believe God grants the freedoms enumerated in the First Amendment want the government to enact laws to secure those rights. "Perhaps we should heed the hands-off admonition of the First Amendment," Deal said.


The bill had faced blistering opposition from the U.S. business community, including the NFL, which threatened to pull a Super Bowl bid from Atlanta. Parts of the entertainment community, which has built a strong presence in Georgia, also threatened to pull up stakes if the bill passed.

Deal, a Republican, has often showed a progressive streak; he has helped turn Georgia into a leader in criminal justice reform, for instance.

"Since 2011, Governor Nathan Deal and the legislature have completely rewritten the adult and juvenile justice codes, creating new opportunities to divert nonviolent offenders from prison or detention," my colleague Casey Tolan recently wrote.

Unfortunately, Deal's announcement is proving the exception to the rule, as more than a dozen states have approved LGBT discrimination laws in the past year, CNN noted.


Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.