Georgia State Senators Seek to Override Governor’s Veto of Anti-Gay Bill

Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the “religious liberty” bill on Monday. An opposing lawmaker says ‘this fight isn’t over’

Shortly after Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the anti-gay Free Exercise Protection Act that has recently been making headlines far beyond the borders of his home state, state Sen. Mike Crane called to state his intention to override the veto.

Crane said that Deal’s decision was “another example of how the political class is bought and paid for by corporations and lobbyists.” A statement read that “[r]ather than standing up and protecting the 1st Amendment, the political class would rather suffice those rights to keep the money flowing.”

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, lawmakers adjourned for the year on Thursday, and three-fifths of the members of both the House and Senate have to “certify to the governor in writing … that in their opinion an emergency exists in the affairs of the state.”

And Crane is not the first to call a special session over the bill. Last week, state Sen. Bill Heath said that if Deal vetoed the bill, he would ask his colleagues to call themselves back in to “consider an override.”

“This fight is not over,” said Crane in his official statement. “Today I am calling for a special session to override the Governor’s veto and protect the First Amendment rights of law abiding and hardworking voters throughout the state.”

According to the AJ-C, Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, was also in favor of the religious liberty bills, while Rep. Beth Beskin supported Deal’s decision, tweeting, “Thank you, Governor Deal, for reaffirming ‘Georgia is a welcoming state’ and vowing to veto HB 757.”

The Free Exercise Protection Act, a bill that prompted many film studios to lead fiery opposition to the state House- and Senate-passed bill,  basically would have allowed religious organizations to discriminate against homosexuals.

Disney, The Weinstein Company and Netflix all vowed to withdraw current productions from the popular destination. Droves of other media companies urged Deal to veto the bill, but with vaguer consequences.

See Crane’s statement below.

For its part, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE, released a statement on Monday calling on the governor to stay the course. “Georgia is a major location of motion picture and television production work, providing thousands of jobs to working people in the entertainment industry,” read the statement. “This bill will hurt Georgia’s economy, and in turn, hurt the lives of those entertainment workers. …

“Equal rights are the cornerstone of the labor movement. As a union that represents people working in the entertainment industry and strives for equality and diversity, the IATSE strongly stands against any legislation that would hurt Georgia’s economy and discriminate against the LGBTQ community.”

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