Deal sends mixed signals on fate of anti-gay bill

Add this share

Gov. Nathan Deal spoke out for the first time since a new anti-gay “religious freedom” bill was passed, offering mixed signals about the legislation and declining to say if the bill discriminates against LGBT Georgians. 

Deal's statements to the AJC and WSB on Friday marked his first since the General Assembly passed a rewritten House Bill 757 two days earlier. LGBT critics blasted the measure as “a license to discriminate” and Deal faces a growing backlash over the legislation. 

Earlier this month, Deal issued a heartfelt, biblical case against “religious freedom” legislation and said he would reject any bill that “allows discrimination in our state in order to protect people of faith.”

But on Friday, Deal avoided a question asking if the legislation legalized discrimination, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It does, though Deal's opinion is really the only one that counts at this point. He has until May 3 to take action on the bill. 

He told our AJC colleague Laura Diaz that he plans on reviewing the measure in April but that he won’t telegraph his intentions. Deal, who earlier warned that he would reject any measure that he believed amounted to legalized discrimination, ducked a question over whether he thought this version crossed that line.

“I have heard from both sides and I’m sure I’ll continue to hear from both sides,” he told Diaz. “I will take their opinions into consideration, and I’ll do what I’m required to do: Which is to make the difficult decision on a very difficult subject.”

Deal also offered comments to WSB, which should make LGBT activists nervous. Deal has talked tough about “religious freedom” legislation not harming LGBT people before, only to backtrack.



Project Q Atlanta goes on hiatus after 14 years

On Sept. 1, 2008, Project Q Atlanta promised a hyper-local “queer media diet” for Atlanta. The site set out to bring LGBTQ news, in-depth...

Photos catch Purple Dress Run invading Midtown

After three years of pandemic-inflicted limitations, Atlanta’s gay rugby squad let loose on one of its most popular events. The Atlanta Bucks Purple Dress...

Ooo Bearracuda: Photos from Bear Pride’s Main Event

The seventh annual Atlanta Bear Pride hit the ground running on Friday with packed houses at Woofs, Heretic and Future. Turned out, they hadn’t...

Atlanta Bear Pride set to go hard and long all weekend

That low, growing growl you hear is a nation of gay bears headed for Atlanta Bear Pride this weekend. By the time they arrive,...

PHOTOS: Armorettes bring back Easter Drag Race magic

Gay Atlanta’s queens of do-good drag brought the sunshine to a cloudy afternoon on Saturday when Heretic hosted the triumphant return of Armorettes Easter...