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Georgia Gov. To Veto Anti-Gay Bill After Pressure From Hollywood & Corporations

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Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal attending the 'Ant-Man' Atlanta Cast And Crew Screening at Regal Atlantic Station 18 on July 12, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Marvel Studios)
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After pressure from Hollywood, the NFL and several big companies, Georgia governor Nathan Deal said he plans to veto the state's pending "religious liberty bill." Deal said today that he will veto the bill, which had already been passed by state legislators, after several companies—including Disney and Marvel—spoke out against it, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The bill would have allowed religious officials to refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, and would have also permitted religious organizations to refuse jobs or services to anyone who violates the organization's "sincerely held" religious beliefs.

Opponents to the bill called it anti-gay legislature that would allow people to freely discriminate against LGBTQ people.

Deal said that the bill "does not reflect the character of our state or the character of our people," and that he doesn't think the state has 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."

Deal said he is okay with the Pastor Protection Act, which allows religious officials to refuse to perform religious ceremonies they did not agree with. However, other variations of the bill were worded in a way that could lead to "state-sanctioned discrimination," he said.

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He also commented on the controversy the bill has created:

Some of those in the religious community who support this bill have resorted to insults that question my moral convictions and my character. Some within the business community who oppose this bill have resorted to threats of withdrawing jobs from our state. I do not respond well to insults or threats. The people of Georgia deserve a leader who will made sound judgments based on solid reasons that are not inflamed by emotion.

Disney and Marvel announced last week that they would no longer shoot in Georgia if the bill were to pass. Georgia, due to its generous 30% film incentives, has become the third most popular state for filming behind California and New York. Marvel's Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War both shot there, and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is shooting there right now. Netflix and The Weinstein Company also threatened taking their business elsewhere, and the NFL indicated that Atlanta might not be the home of the next Super Bowl if the bill were to pass. Other companies, including Apple, Intel, Paypal and Yelp also voiced their disapproval.

Georgia may have already been dropped from two pending economic projects over the bill, according to an email from Deal's chief-of-staff that was obtained by the Atlanta Journal Constitution via an open records request.

Some lawmakers who are in support of the bill have said they'll call for a "veto session" to override Deal's veto. A veto session requires a three-fifths majority in both the House and Senate. Actually overriding the veto then requires a two-thirds majority in both.

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