Magazine article The Christian Century

Mississippi Creates Law Aimed at Religious Liberty, Georgia Bill Gets Veto

Magazine article The Christian Century

Mississippi Creates Law Aimed at Religious Liberty, Georgia Bill Gets Veto

Article excerpt

As several southern states weighed bills on religious liberty, Mississippi governor Phil Bryant signed one that allows businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers based on religious convictions, while Georgia governor Nathan Deal vetoed a similar bill, saying the measure proposed to fix a problem that didn't exist.

After signing the bill on April 5, Gov. Bryant stated, "This bill merely reinforces the rights which currently exist to the exercise of religious freedom as stated in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."

The law also gives government employees the right to refuse services based on their religious beliefs.

Georgia's bill aimed to broadly protect people acting on their beliefs, refusing to cater a same-sex wedding, for example. It also named protections for clergy who refuse to perform same-sex marriages and people who won't attend a wedding for religious reasons.

Gov. Deal of Georgia said in remarks posted on his website about his March 28 veto that he was not aware of examples of situations in the state requiring such protections.

"I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia," he said.

After the legislation was passed, the National Football League hinted at skipping Atlanta for a future Super Bowl, and a host of Hollywood studios, stars, and filmmakers threatened to pull their $1 billion business from the city known as "Hollywood South."

"Some of those in the religious community who support this bill have resorted to insults that question my moral convictions and my character," Deal said. …

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