❝ Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, is on the cusp of becoming America’s newest gay icon.
Goodell, who has an openly gay brother, and the NFL have emerged as staunch allies in gay rights advocates’ efforts to defeat HB 757, the controversial religious freedom bill that passed the Georgia legislature late last week.
❝ HB 757 began the year as “the Pastor Protection Act,” a measure giving clergy the right to refuse to perform same-sex weddings. But after two trips through the Georgia state House and Senate, the bill now gives faith-based organizations the right to hire and fire people who violate their “sincerely held religious beliefs,” as well as the right to refuse to rent facilities for events they find “objectionable…”
❝ With every expansion of the bill, Georgia legislators were warned by local business leaders not to do to Georgia what Indiana legislators did in 2015, when their own Religious Freedom Restoration Act led to an immediate nationwide backlash, including more than 400 million #BoycottIndiana tweets in the week the bill passed.
A year later, local tourism officials estimate the city lost at least 12 conventions and $60 million in direct business as a result…
❝ Along with LGBT advocates, major players in Georgia’s business community have ripped the legislation.
Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and Delta Airlines oppose it. Michael Dell, Richard Branson, and Jack Dorsey have all spoken out against it. SalesForce CEO Mark Benioff, who has 16,000 employees in Georgia, has warned he’ll pull as much of his business as possible out of the state, tweeting last week:
“Once again Georgia is trying to pass laws that make it legal to discriminate. When will this insanity end?”
Some think a sports-mad community like Georgia will listen most of all to folks in leading sports. I think they’re as capable as anyone in the Confederacy of cutting off their noses to spite folks who refuse to kneel before the Georgia version of sharia.
And, BTW, you can add Marvel and Disney to the list of firms ready to boycott the state. Why make a movie in a place that might refuse a room to staff or stars?
UPDATE: Georgia governor vetoes anti-gay religious exemption bill
❝ Georgia’s term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal took a stand against his own party and averted threatened boycotts by major corporations on Monday by announcing his veto of a “religious freedom” bill passed exclusively by Republican lawmakers.
“I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia,” Deal declared.
❝ The bill enumerated a list of actions that “people of faith” would not have to perform for other people. Clergy could refuse to perform gay marriages; churches and affiliated religious groups could have invoked their faith as a reason to refuse to serve or hire someone. People claiming their religious freedoms have been burdened by state or local laws also could force governments to prove there’s a “compelling” state interest overriding their beliefs.
All but 11 Republicans in the Georgia House and Senate voted in favor; all Democrats voted against it.
❝ Deal said he could “find no examples that any of the things this bill seeks to protect us against have ever occurred in Georgia.”
Like most bigots, the things Georgia Republicans feared had never come to pass in the wake of the SCOTUS decisions on gay rights. No different from the days when the “modern” Confederacy crapped their drawers over an end to legal segregation, mixed marriage, the whole agglomeration of laws guaranteeing racist practices. Reactionary politicians centered in the Republican Party, nowadays – Dixiecrats BITD – try their damndest to sink the American Constitution as it proceeds slowly towards actual modern times.
The Party of NO continues to be the Party of Know Nothing, the Party of Do Nothing Useful.