Governor Deal Vetoes House Bill 757

Governor Nathan Deal  Photo Jon Richards
Governor Nathan Deal Photo Jon Richards
In a ten minute press conference, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced that he will veto House Bill 757, the Free Exercise Protection Act. “I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith based community in Georgia of which I and my family have been a part of for all of our lives,” the governor said before announcing his decision. “Our actions on House Bill 757 are not just about protecting the faith based community. or providing a business friendly climate for job growth in Georgia. I believe it is about the character of our state and the character of our people.”

In his announcement, he cited concerns of the religious community over the case of a New Mexico photographer who refused to take pictures of a same-sex wedding, and a baker in Colorado who refused to bake a cake for a same sex ceremony. However, Deal noted that both states had civil rights or public accomodations law that Georgia lacks.

“Had the bill been the so-called Pastor Protection Act that passed the House of Representatives, I would have signed it,” the governor said. “However other versions of the bill contained language that caused me some concern as it caused many others concern,. that they may in fact encourage or allow discrimination that is sanctions by the state.”

Governor Deal said he appreciated the efforts of the General Assembly to come up with a bill that would not allow discrimination, noting how difficult it is to legislate something that should better be left to the broader protections of the First Amendment. He referred to the concept of “Negative Protection” adopted by the Founders, which rather than specifying what the state can do to guarantee religious freedom, instead mandates what the state cannot do — establish a religion or interfere with the free exercise thereof.

“In light of our history, said the Governor, “I find it somewhat ironic that some in the religious community today could feel that it is necessary for government to confer upon them certain rights and protections. If indeed our religious liberty is conferred upon us by God and not by man made government, then perhaps we should heed that hands-off admonition of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

Governor Deal noted that for laws regarding the expression of religion, inclusions and omissions in their statutes can lead to unintentional discrimination.

The veto is likely to increase the friction between the governor and the General Assembly, which has tried for three legislative sessions to pass some form of religious liberty legislation, ranging from a state version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to this year’s effort led be Sen. Greg Kirk to pass a state version of the First Amendment Defense Act. Legislators have threatened to attempt to override the governor’s veto of the measure, however the success of such and effort is uncertain.

And much like the split between the Republican establishment and the grassroots that led to Donald Trump becoming a leading contender for the GOP presidential nomination, the split between the business community in Georgia and the party’s base has exposed a wound that is unlikely to heal for quite a while.

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Andrew C. PopeJon Richardsaugusta52ScottNAtlantaxdog Recent comment authors
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John Konop
John Konop

……..“In light of our history, said the Governor, “I find it somewhat ironic that some in the religious community today could feel that it is necessary for government to confer upon them certain rights and protections. If indeed our religious liberty is conferred upon us by God and not by man made government, then perhaps we should heed that hands-off admonition of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”………..

Sen. McKoon and company you should this over and over again!

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

The great sigh of relief is from those yea votes not wishing this to be the hill to die on.

CoastalCat
CoastalCat

Has the damage been done? Have enough conventions decided to take their business elsewhere? Enough businesses decided to locate somewhere less backwards?

Preach whatever hatred your little heart desires inside of your church building. But keep it to yourselves when you step outside into the secular world. This country was weary of centuries of European religious wars and was founded on secular principles to avoid giving power to the religious hardliners.

Time to solve real problems that Georgia faces.

Will Durant
Will Durant

Amen. 😉

ScottNAtlanta
ScottNAtlanta

Would have been worse had our friends in NC scooped us…Thanks NC!

ScottNAtlanta
ScottNAtlanta

sorry…friends in NC NOT scooped us

augusta52
augusta52

Do you have examples of churches in our area preaching “hatred”? Or is your definition of hatred a conservative church (say Baptist, Catholic or Eastern Orthodox) denouncing activity which traditionally has been referred to as “sin”?

John Konop
John Konop

Aug, Ihop is all over Georgia, would you call this hatred? …..A few weeks ago, we noted that Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign had proudly announced the endorsement of Mike Bickle, the head of the controversial International House of Prayer and an extremist pastor who believes, among other things, that Oprah Winfrey is a forerunner to the Antichrist. Among Bickle’s more radical views is his prophecy that as the End Times approach, all Jews will be given a chance to accept Jesus, warning that if they do not accept “the grace” of Christ, God will then “raise up a hunter” who… Read more »

Bart
Bart

Thank you Governor Deal. Hopefully the Gold Dome bible thumpers have not done irreparable harm already with their single minded mission to destroy Georgia’s economy.

xdog
xdog

“the split between the business community in Georgia and the party’s base” Jon, my view may be distorted but I think the real split is in the legislature, with one group willing to exploit differences for political gain and another group afraid to tell the first to behave themselves. Instead of making clear the consequences of inflammatory and unneeded legislation, the second group decided to appease the first by letting them push their bills. That worked about as well as appeasement ever does. The firebrands are the clear winner here–they get the discriminatory bill they want or they have another… Read more »

augusta52
augusta52

Out of touch with who or what? It is fashionable to bash legislators from the “other Georgia”, the outside metro Atlanta part—the smaller cities and counties—but the rural sections of the state still pack a punch at election time. Just ask Roy Barnes, or look up the results from the November 2002 general election…