Gov. Deal: ‘No reason’ for ‘religious freedom’ bill

Add this share

Gov. Nathan Deal went from lukewarm to cold on a new “religious freedom” bill proposed in the Georgia Senate on Wednesday, blasting the measure as not “beneficial to the state.”

On Wednesday, Deal said he was “extremely cautious” about the bill. By Thursday, his stance hardened. Via the AJC:

“I didn’t want there to be any confusion about where I stand on the RFRA bill: I have no desire or appetite to entertain that legislation,” Deal said.

In case that wasn't clear, Deal offered more.

“Our state is doing exceptionally well and we’ve seen rather disastrous consequences from other states who have made a departure on that issue,” he said. “I see no reason or justification for us to do anything further.”

The governor then hammered the last nail in the legislative coffin.

“This is not something that is part of my agenda,” he said, “and it’s something I do not view as being beneficial to the state.”

Deal's comments to the AJC on Thursday came a day after Sen. Marty Harbin made a plea for Senate Bill 233 from the Senate floor. The legislation would take language from the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act – which Deal voted for when it passed the U.S. House in 1993 – and insert it into Georgia law. Harbin and other supporters pointed to Deal's support of the measure more than 20 years ago as a sign he should back the bill now.

But opponents argued on Wednesday that federal law offers some protections to LGBT people – unlike Georgia, which does not have an LGBT-inclusive civil rights law. Without that, a state-level “religious freedom” bill would be “weaponized” to attack LGBT people, Sen. Elena Parent said.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Rules Committee.

Last year, Deal vetoed a much broader anti-LGBT bill that included a state-level “religious freedom” measure.


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...