The Secular Coalition for Georgia has been following HB 757 since its early debates on the House floor. Throughout the process we sent dozens of letters to legislators and the governor urging them not to support this discriminatory legislation. We’re thrilled that Governor Deal has chosen to side with us, the Constitution, and the majority of Georgians by vetoing this bill. We hope to see the end of attempts to privilege religion as lawmakers recognize their constituents want religion protected, not imposed.
Had the governor signed HB 757 into law, the state of Georgia would have effectively legalized state-sanctioned discrimination. A restaurant could have denied service to an interracial couple. A nonprofit Christian homeless shelter could have turned away non-Christians. A hotel could have refused a room to a single mother with her child. Doctors and nurses could have withheld treatment from anyone if doing so would violate their “religious or moral convictions or policies.”
With his veto today of HB 757, Georgia’s Governor Deal gave fresh air to the reality of liberty, inclusiveness, and equality for all of Georgia’s citizens. We applaud Governor Deal’s refusal to go sign into law legislation that could would amount to state-santioned discrimination and his strength of character in calling out the harm that such a law would have caused.