News of Governor Nathan Deal’s veto of a so-called “religious liberty” bill prompted passionate responses from business leaders, politicians, athletes, and celebrities — from both the right and left.
Unsurprisingly, Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle stands by the bill, saying in a statement that it struck the “right balance.”
He says the state should take an active role in protecting religious belief, which he feels has been lost in “hyperbole and criticism.”
State Senator Josh McKoon, the author of the 2014 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, gravitated towards sheer “hyperbole” himself while talking to Fox News:
It’s open season on people of faith in our state. It’s a slap in the face to conservatives, to evangelicals and to the broader faith community. Our actions on HB 757 are not just about protecting the faith-based community or providing a business-friendly climate for job growth in Georgia. This is about the character of our state and the character of its people.”
Of course, McKoon’s tone is positively muted in comparison to the reaction of Family Research Council’s president Tony Perkins, who ladled on the boilerplate fire and brimstone:
The Devil has gone down to Georgia again, but this time it was in the form of big business and cowardly politicians.
“Governor Deal’s veto of a watered down religious liberty bill, which would have barely afforded pastors and priests protections from the state over their beliefs over natural marriage, reveals how LGBT activists and their allies in big business are now not even willing to allow religious freedom within the four walls of a church. It’s disappointing that only one day after Easter Sunday, Governor Deal announces the veto of a modest bill that would provide protections for churches threatened by government discrimination in the wake of the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage.”
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights clearly put their statement through several drafts before mastering the tone of a scowling, scolding nun:
If Gov. Deal were honest, he would say that the pressure coming from the corporate elite was overwhelming and that it threatened to cause economic ruin to his state. Even men and women of faith could understand why he would veto the bill.
“Instead, he justified his veto saying, “I do not respond very well to insults or threats.” That is a lie—he responds very well to threats. Indeed, it is precisely the kinds of threats issued by the NFL, Disney, and Marvel Studios that made him cave: the NFL threatened to deny Atlanta a future Super Bowl, and Disney and Marvel threatened to relocate.”
Of course, there was no shortage of praise, either.