The Republican governor of Georgia has vetoed a bill (I wrote about it a few days ago) that would enable discrimination against members of the LGBT community. Many businesses, including the film industry, had threatened to boycott the state if he signed the measure into law.
The governor’s planned veto will likely infuriate religious conservatives who considered the measure, House Bill 757, their top priority. This is the third legislative session they’ve sought to strengthen legal protections from opponents of gay marriage, but last year’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex weddings galvanized their efforts.
It is also likely to herald a more acrimonious relationship between Deal, who campaigned on a pro-business platform, and the evangelical wing of the Georgia Republican party. Already, prominent conservatives have vowed to revive the measure next year.
The legislation, which first surfaced on March 16 and passed both Republican-controlled chambers in hours, would allow faith-based organizations to deny services to those who violate their “sincerely held religious belief” and preserve their right to fire employees who aren’t in accord with those beliefs.
The governor’s term expires in January 2019 and since he is prevented by term limits from running again, he may have felt greater freedom to act this way and defy his state’s religious conservatives, saying that people need “to take a deep breath and “recognize that the world is changing around us.””
The state’s legislative session ended last Friday but backers of the bill are vowing to try again.
Already, several conservative lawmakers have owed to call for a “veto session” to rebuke the governor if he rejects the measure. It takes a three-fifth majority in both chambers to call a special session, and a two-thirds majority in both chambers to override a veto — a threshold the bill failed to reach by one vote in the Senate and 16 in the House.
“There are enough votes in the Senate to override,” predicted state Sen. Brandon Beach, an Alpharetta Republican facing a tough primary challenge who supported the measure. “I don’t know about the House, though.”
Meanwhile, unfortunately the governor of North Carolina Pat McCrory has signed into law a bill that forbids local authorities from providing protections to the transgender community. McCrory is running for re-election in November.
State lawmakers passed the law last week during a one-day special session called to repeal a Charlotte city ordinance that would have allowed bathroom choice based on gender identity versus sex at birth.
The Republican-led legislature also voted to prohibit local governments from enacting anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, a move decried by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy groups, several companies and the National Basketball Association.
North Carolina is now being sued by the ACLU.
Unfortunately, there are another 17 anti-transgender bills in ten states that are awaiting consideration.