Georgia, USA Could Lose Super Bowls And Hollywood If Antigay Bill Signed

Georgia, USA Could Lose Super Bowls And Hollywood If Antigay Bill Signed

As Republican Governor Nathan Deal considers “religious freedom” legislation that would open the door to businesses denying service to LGBT people, the National Football League issued a statement saying Atlanta could lose the chance to host a Super Bowl.

The statement was issued to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and came from league spokesman Brian McCarthy:

“NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites.”

Atlanta is in the midst of building a new stadium for its team, the Falcons, with hopes of luring lucrative Super Bowl games. The team’s owner has already come out publicly against Georgia House Bill 757, the legislation some refer to as the “license to discriminate bill,” since it would allow businesses, nonprofits, and individuals to turn away LGBT people and others by citing religious grounds.

Other Georgia-related businesses, like Hilton and Coca-Cola, already objected to an earlier version of House Bill 757.

And on Saturday, Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said that film and TV companies should abandon production in Georgia if Gov. Nathan Deal doesn’t veto the “license to discriminate” legislation passed by the state lawmakers.Chad_Griffin_insert_c_Washington_Blade_by_Blake_Bergen

“I know we have many entertainment industry leaders in the room tonight,” Griffin said in addressing attendees at the HRC’s Los Angeles Gala Dinner Saturday night. “Like other states, Georgia offers tax incentives for TV and film productions, and as a result, the entertainment industry has a huge economic footprint in the state. But if this bill is signed into law, your employees, your contractors — all those working on your production are at risk of state-sanctioned discrimination. That is wrong. It’s un-American. It’s an affront on all the values Hollywood prides itself on.

“And you have the influence and the opportunity to not only defeat this bill, but to send a message that there are consequences to passing dangerous and hateful laws like this. And so tonight, we’re asking you to join us as we urge TV and film studios, directors and producers, to commit to locating no further productions in the state of Georgia if this bill becomes law.”

Georgia’s House and Senate both approved House Bill 757 Wednesday after amending it to make it even harsher. It would prevent the state government from taking any punitive action against an individual or faith-based organization that speaks or behaves according to a sincerely held “religious or moral conviction” that marriage should only take place between two people of the opposite sex, or that sexual relations should be limited to such a marriage. Such faith-based organizations could include social service providers, such as adoption agencies, food pantries, or homeless shelters, which often receive public funding. The lawmakers added language Wednesday saying the government would have to show a compelling interest in interfering with religious practices.

HRC warned last week that the bill “could undermine local nondiscrimination ordinances that protect LGBT people, permit hospitals to refuse to provide medically necessary care, or allow a taxpayer-funded service provider to discriminate by denying a job because of the applicant’s religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”

Because of its tax incentives, Georgia has attracted many film and TV productions. At least 248 such productions were shot there during the state’s 2015 fiscal year, resulting in at least $1.7 billion in direct spending as well as more than 100 businesses relocating to or expanding in Georgia to support these activities.

At the event Saturday, Griffin also called on the U.S. Senate to hold a hearing on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. The Senate’s Republican leaders say they will not consider Garland, as they believe Obama’s successor should be the one to fill the court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

“I don’t have to tell the people in this room how important the Supreme Court is,” Griffin said. “We have seen what can happen when our rights are left up to a vote. Time and again we have had to fight all the way to the nation’s highest court to achieve and protect our basic constitutional rights and protections. There’s no doubt that Merrick Garland is a highly qualified candidate. President Obama has done his job. Now it’s time for Senate Republicans to do theirs. Americans deserve a full Supreme Court bench, and the president’s nominee deserves a hearing.”

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  1. A-non
    March 21, 07:13 Reply

    The struggle continues, both home and abroad.

  2. Mandy
    March 21, 07:20 Reply

    This same Georgia that’s home to Atlanta, one of the heaviest gayborhoods in the US? Why would they do this? All these Republican states be looking for ways to undermine the victory scored at the Supreme Court.

  3. Geeluv
    March 21, 07:48 Reply

    Hmmmm… are we gonna struggle forever?

  4. Mitch
    March 21, 09:23 Reply

    Georgia? With that heavy gaybourhood that is Atlanta? Truly, the war is far from over!

  5. Stranger
    March 21, 14:04 Reply

    Can’t they just let them be?!! Why are they so affected?

  6. Marc Francis of Chelsea
    March 21, 15:12 Reply

    That’s how I was arguing with some bigot on BellaNaija a few days ago and she was spewing shit about how she has a right to deny anyone service based on their sexual orientation, religion or any factors she considers as impeding to her “religious freedom.”

    This just shows that everywhere you go, you can always find one bigot in the room. I wonder if he would draft a bill allowing businesses to not service Muslim customers. After all, the Muslim faith technically worships another god and is therefore an aberration of Christianity.

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