Gov. Nathan Deal swatted back at supporters of anti-gay “religious freedom” legislation, challenging lawmakers to move on to other issues and grassroots activists to let go of their grudge.
“Some people hold grudges (but) let me ask them this: Instead of just having rhetoric why don’t we have examples?” Deal said. “Nobody has ever yet provided me one clear example of anything that has occurred in the state of Georgia that the RFRA bill would have prevented.”
The comments from Deal came after a weekend of criticism from Republican Party activists, who “censured” him and passed resolutions condemning his veto of House Bill 757. Deal vetoed the anti-gay bill on March 28 during a growing national backlash over the legislation, saying it's not necessary “to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia.”
On Tuesday, Deal also urged lawmakers to move past the contentious debate over “religious freedom” legislation and onto more pressing legislative concerns. Via the AJC:
“Although I have a difference of opinion with many in the General Assembly with regard to RFRA, I think and hope they would be big enough to look at every issue on their merits,” Gov. Deal told reporters after addressing a transportation conference at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Last week, Deal said he'd veto the legislation again next year if lawmakers passed a similar bill in 2017. And some lawmakers have promised to do just that. On Friday, supporters of “religious freedom” legislation will rally at the State Capitol, including the issue's chief cheerleader, state Sen. Josh McKoon. Opponents of House Bill 757 rallied on April 5 to thank Deal for the veto.