The future of Georgia's film industry lies in the hands of one man, Gov. Nathan Deal.
Recently, the Georgia legislature has sent a religious liberty bill
to Gov. Nathan Deal, who has until May 3rd to design whether or not to sign it.
The bill, which is called the Free Exercise Protection Act, says no faith-based organization “Shall be required to provide social, educational or charitable services that violate such faith-based organizations sincerely held religious belief.” In addition, organizations cannot be forced to “hire or retain as an employee any person whose religious beliefs or practices or lack of either are not in accord with the faith-based organizations sincerely held religious belief.”
While everyone is freaking out about the possibility of Disney leaving Georgia's film industry, it's pretty clear that the "anti-gay" bill will not be signed by Gov. Nathan Deal.
The Governor, by law, has to wait a defined amount of time before vetoing the law.
According to Georgia state laws, the Governor has 40 days to determine whether to sign the bill—creating a law—or veto the bill. If the Governor vetoes the bill, it will then go back to the chamber it originated during the next year’s session to see if they wish to override the veto. A vetoed bill requires two-thirds vote of the House/Senate in order to override, according to the “veto power” outlined in the Georgia State Constitution, Article V, Section II, Paragraph IV.
However, it is important to point out that he has already indicated publicly that he will be vetoing the bill anyway.
“It’s not on my agenda item. It’s not one of those issues that I have been pushing,” Gov. Nathan Deal told the AJC.
“I know that there are a lot of Georgians who feel like this is a necessary step for us to take. I would hope that in the process of these last few days, we can keep in mind the concerns of the faith-based community, which I believe can be protected without setting up the situation where we could be accused of allowing or encouraging discrimination.”
Gov. Nathan Deal went on to say: “What the New Testament teaches us is that Jesus reached out to those who were considered the outcasts, the ones that did not conform to the religious societies’ view of the world … We do not have a belief in my way of looking at religion that says we have to discriminate against anybody. If you were to apply those standards to the teaching of Jesus, I don’t think they fit.”
Georgia currently has the third-largest film industry in America. 800 movies and TV shows, 30,000-plus workers, and an economic impact of close to $5.1 billion in 2014. This will have a major impact on the Governor's decision.
And while the Georgia state house is filled with "religious freedom" supporting politicians, Gov. Nathan Deal is a supporter of business, and more importantly the film industry; something the governor will most likely not let go.
What do you think of the religious freedom bill? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below!