Gov. Deal: Focus on future, not anti-LGBT bill

Add this share

Gov. Nathan Deal's agenda for the new legislative session doesn't include a return to controversial anti-LGBT “religious freedom” legislation.

In speeches delivered to business leaders on Tuesday and Georgia lawmakers a day later, Deal didn't mention the legislation or the divisive fight last year that led him to veto the “religious freedom” bill. And when asked about the issue on Wednesday, Deal made it clear he's not interested in revisiting it in the legislative session that opened on Monday.

“I talked about my agenda today and my vision for the future. And I think that's where we should all focus,” Deal said.

The statement from Deal came after the governor “accentuated the positive” in his State of the State address and proposed a $25 billion state budget.

“As we enter this new year of 2017 and this session of the Georgia General Assembly, I invite you to join with me as we continue to follow Johnny Mercer’s advice from 72 years ago and accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and not waste time and resources messing with Mr. In-Between,” Deal said.

Deal didn't mention “religious freedom” legislation in the speech or on Tuesday during remarks during the Georgia Chamber's annual Eggs & Issues breakfast.

When Deal vetoed the bill in March, he said it didn't fit with the state's “welcoming, loving” approach to people. 

“I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia, which I and my family have been a member of for all of our lives,” Deal said at the time.

Deal was the third top elected official in Georgia to pour cold water on “religious freedom” legislation in recent days. House Speaker David Ralston said it's a time suck he's not interested in and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said fears spurring the legislation “have subsided some.”

On Monday, Ralston also reached out to LGBT Georgians during a speech after he was re-elected speaker.

But state Sen. Josh McKoon wasn't impressed. He has backed “religious freedom” legislation for three years and re-launched his bid for the legislation on Tuesday. 

“It is certainly my hope that this will be the year that we will pass basic, fundamental protections of the right of free exercise here in Georgia as 31 other states have seen fit to do and as has been done at the federal level for now for 24 years,” McKoon said. 

Regina Willis contributed to this report.

THE LATEST

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...
17,446FansLike
7,001FollowersFollow
7,682FollowersFollow

PHOTO GALLERIES