It didn’t take long after the Georgia Senate passed a hybrid anti-gay so-called “religious freedom” bill on Friday for the first Georgia company to announce they were pulling out of the state—less than 10 minutes to be exact.

373K, a gay-owned Decatur-based telecom company, tweeted “We are very saddened by the Georgia Senate which passed #HB757 also known as #FADA. It’s time to relocate.”

Brian Tolleson, the openly gay CEO of Atlanta-based digital entertainment company BARK BARK who had a hand in the creation of the LGBT Institute at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, shed light on what the bill’s passage could mean for the state’s film and TV industry. Tolleson to the AJC:

“It would really do irreparable harm to our brand as a state,” said Brian Tolleson, who owns a digital entertainment company called Bark Bark, working with studios and media companies on everything from production to marketing.

“This very assembly working on this bill has invested billions of taxpayer dollars growing an industry that would leave this state,” said Tolleson, who has clients from New York City to Los Angeles. “They will boycott coming to shoot anything here. The powers that be in the industry really want to defeat Georgia’s rise as entertainment destination. And we’re handing it to them on a silver platter.”

The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce weighed in before Friday’s session even started, telling members of the state Senate that “if this [anti-LGBT bill] moves forward, it will be a huge step backwards. We will become a national poster child for discrimination.”

And former GOP Senate Majority Leader Ronnie Chance, who heads up Georgia Prospers, a coalition of over 300 Georgia-based businesses who’ve come together against such legislation, wrote an editorial in Saturday’s AJC, saying in part:

No one in Georgia wants to go through what Indiana experienced. It is a little-known fact that Georgia state law offers no nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community. In other words, this bill will take Georgia law from a “see-no-evil” approach to discrimination to tacit approval. That could prove devastating for our reputation as a great place to do business.

And that’s just a sampling of the backlash. Gov. Nathan Deal commented on the matter at an event Monday morning at the Capitol touting the state’s booming film industry, making clear that even though it’s only one House vote and his signature away from becoming law, that the measure is still “evolving” and that his office is working with House Speaker David Ralston and other legislative leaders.

“I don’t comment until things are finalized, but it’s not finalized yet,” he said.

So all eyes are on the House as everyone waits to see what version of House Bill 757—the “Pastor Protection Act” in name only at this point considering the numerous changes made to it in the Senate—pops up there. Monday’s session is in recess until 1:15 p.m. We’ll keep you posted of any updates.

CORRECTION: Deal’s comments this morning occurred at a previously scheduled event celebrating Film Day at the Capitol, not at a press conference specifically called to address the backlash as previously reported.

30 Responses

  1. Theconnectsean

    I’m glad businesses are leaving the state. Unfortunately, the bigoted homophobes won’t respond to just one business leaving. They will pass this bill and deal with the outcome later. The hate is real here in the south.

    Reply
    • grend

      Its not hate . Its doing what right and moral. So take your immorality to another state that will tolerate this. How come anyone that does not believe like you automatically its hate.

      Reply
      • Kc

        I ask the same of you. How come anyone who doesn’t believe the way you do is immoral?

      • Sarah

        Religion is a means to judge yourself, not others. Judging others is God’s job, not yours, not mine, or anyone else. Discriminating against gay people is the same as discriminating against black people. Let’s not go back to those dark times in Georgia’s history.

      • Charles

        Grend, Hate is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury b : extreme dislike or antipathy : loathing. What part of your message does not fall into this definition? As for what is right and moral, it is an American right under the US Constitution to choose our belief system and what is right and moral for each individual.

        I, for one, do not intend to leave just because you or other haters would like it. So maybe you would like to take your hatred to another state that will tolerate it.

      • Charles

        Grend, Hate is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury b : extreme dislike or antipathy : loathing.” What part of your message does not fall into this definition? As for what is right and moral, it is an American right under the US Constitution to choose our belief system and what is right and moral for each individual.

        I, for one, do not intend to leave just because you or other haters would like it. So maybe you would like to take your hatred to another state that will tolerate it.

      • Cheryl Courtney-Evans

        It’s hate because you’re not just “not believing as we do”, but actually advocating legislating UNNECESSARY actions that would work against our very existence; don’t try to victim blame, hiding behind the false front of not understanding EXACTLY the aim of what’s being attempted, by throwing back the “intolerance for your intolerance” factor. You’re not fooling anyone.

      • ChristopherATL

        And here’s an obvious question…If you think the LGBT community is immoral, why are you trolling an LGBT community news site? Studies have shown that many who are intolerant of the LGBT community are dealing with misplaced anger due to their own latent homosexual feelings themselves. Something to consider.

      • Debby

        INCLUSION is NOT “immoral”, it’s God’s command! You know, the very same “God” that YOU say you worship, and allows YOU to judge others? Right! THAT God! Well, MY God says this is WRONG! I am NOT Gay, but I will fully support the LGBT community by NOT doing business with a company that refuses to serve the LGBT community! Then we will see those businesses GO UNDER, instead of the morally correct businesses feeling like they need to LEAVE Ga!

    • Don Rogers

      It is not hate, we just do not agree with the gay lifestyle and feel it would be to both of our benefits for you to find a place more in keeping with your public and private behavior. when you flaunt your lifestyle with Gay parades and other actions in public such as kissing and making out to just flaunt in our face and say to Hell with you we will act anyway anywhere we choose. You can hardly expect to invade an area where straight people have lived,some for generations, and say if you dont like our behavior you can just leave.

      Reply
  2. Pastor John

    Georgia needs family values. Restore religious freedom to people of faith. Satan’s proclamation is to get Georgian’s to tolerate, accept and then embrace Sin. Jesus taught that repentance is the only way to salvation. Pass the legislation and tell Satan he must leave Georgia for the Godly.

    Reply
    • Chris

      @Pastor John, since when does YOUR religion get to dictate the laws here in Georgia? Last time I checked, the Constitution was law, not your bible. Come talk to me when your religious friends get their jaw broken and heads bashed in just for walking down the street. You are free to worship how you feel, but you are not free to dictate your religion on my life.

      Reply
    • Jon

      Freedom of religion means being free to choose how I wish to worship, not being forced to accept someone else’s view of what is righteous. I don’t get to tell you that you have to stop hating homosexuality, and you don’t get to tell homosexuals that they have to stop being homosexual or to leave the state where they pay taxes and contribute to the local economy. Jesus must be proud he has a following of such bigots.

      Reply
    • Marc

      Pastor….”religious freedom” doesn’t give you the right to discriminate. Sorry…next.

      Reply
    • Michael

      Right or wrong, hear no evil see no evil. What about the basic rights of any human being nobody is telling you that you have to accept homosexuality but nobody should be made to listen to anybody slander whatever happened to the basic human rights if somebody. You have your right to believe whatever you wanna believe and you have the right to live your life how you want to live your life. You have a right not to accept human homosexuality just like we have the right to not accept your views on religion but where do you get off thinking it is OK to make a person live like you live. Religion does not give you a free pass to discriminate against somebody who loves differently than you do and say its not family value. Your hypocrite and God will judge you whether you’re a pastor or not you believe in God so much and you preach His words so well that you’re willing to break His Word by not loving somebody for who they are regardless of how they loved. Yes it’s a sin but they are automatically forgiven by God for how they sin but let’s hope you’re forgiven before how you send

      Reply
    • Charles

      Georgia does have values. Maybe not the values that you think we should have; but, values that provide fairness, non-discrimination, and values to prevent those who discriminate in the name of religion. I agree with you though that we should tell Satan to leave. When are you leaving Pastor John as you are the epitome of evil ? Also, I will be happy to help you pack!

      Reply
    • ChristopherATL

      Pastor John, with all due respect, I do not appreciate you or anyone else advocating for laws based on yours or anyone else’s religion. I do not believe in your god, your bible or your hateful way of thinking. I am an American and the United States is a secular society. You have every right to believe as you choose. You do not have the right to force others to do your bidding. Every law you create based on religious context will be struck down in a court. YOU and your kind are the reason people are increasingly leaving the church. Instead of practicing the teachings of Jesus Christ, you are proving to everyone that much of what you preach is only good in theory.

      Reply
    • Debby

      YOU, “Pastor” John, should be ashamed of yourself! You are a hypocrite, and talk out of BOTH sides of your mouth! God says FIRST, above all….to LOVE others! And to NOT judge others! My guess is that you disagree with SOMETHING in most everyone’s “lifestyle”, gay or straight! You have NO clue what goes on behind closed doors of homes of: wife beaters, child molesters, murderers, etc. BUT yet you serve them?? Where do you draw the line, “Pastor”?? STOP judging, STOP teaching your “flock” to judge! Leave that to your God, and get on with the business of LOVING others!

      Reply
    • Ken

      Pastor John how does your God feel about Racism? It’s so easy to attack the LGBT community and say you’re doing it for God. But I never see Religious/Moral (Pretenders) ever attack racism that affects our nation as well as Georgia.

      Reply
  3. Joann

    Wait. What I want to know is why is someone calling himself Pastor John on the GA voice page in the first place? It appears you just wish to upset people who are already upset with what has transpired. Please stay away.

    Reply
  4. Shayne Fraser

    I’ve never seen Satan. But, I’ve seen plenty of despicable clergy and bible-thumpers preening on Sundays and then spewing hate every other day of the week.

    Reply
  5. Vince

    Please send a polite email to Ms. Gail Dent, Associate Director of Public and Media Relations at the NCAA and ask her to have her organization reconsider bringing the Final 4 to Atlanta in 2020.

    her email is:
    gdent@ncaa.org

    Reply
    • Lovely

      OK! Anything that financially punishes these Bible thumping cretins is great. They don’t deserve financial success at the expense of others.

      Reply
    • ChristopherATL

      I will do this now. I urge all of you to do the same. Governor Deal has insinuated this bill will not be signed into law, but until that happens, we must keep the pressure on him and the state representatives.

      Reply
  6. Greg the Hammer

    It is my deeply held religious belief that Thor is the mightiest of all gods. With his mighty hammer, Mjolnir, he will cast the villainous Christians out of our lands, and defend the right and honorable people against the evil followers of the White Christ.

    Hail Thor!

    Reply

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