Atlanta business community opposes Georgia's 'Religious Freedom' bill

georgia prospers
Atlanta’s and Georgia’s collective business community have sounded the alarm and are closing ranks in light of House Bill 757, dubbed the “Religious Freedom” bill, that provide freedom for faith-based groups use their held religious beliefs to decline service to couples in relationships with which they disagree. In other words, they would be legally allowed to decline to serve same-sex couples, in particular, and discriminate against the LGBT community in general.
As the unrelenting glare of the American corporate community bore holes into the Gold Dome in Atlanta, Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston have pledged that changes are coming to the measure, and the governor said the legislation is “a work in progress.”
“I do not want us to do anything that will be perceived as allowing discrimination in the state of Georgia. That is not who we are as a people. And I don’t think we have to do that in order to give the security that the faith-based community thinks we need. I want to make sure we don’t go out of balance,” he said according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
It’s not just the all-powerful Atlanta Chamber of Commerce that opposes this bill, which was passed in the state Senate. National business leaders as significant as the president of Microsoft have articulated deep concern about the “Religious Freedom” bill.
The city’s Chamber of Commerce are mortified by this bill and believe its passage will wreck irreversible havoc on the city’s and the states business dealings, impugn the city’s reputation as a place “too busy to hate,” and inspire the organizers of some of the biggest conventions in the country to take their extremely lucrative annual events elsewhere. This would be a crippling blow to the city and state.
The Chamber’s fears are not without merit. It’s being reported by the that representatives of the popular annual Dragon Con festival, which attracted more than 70,000 people to Atlanta in 2015, said in a Facebook post they are monitoring the bill’s progress closely and that “legislation that hurts one of us, hurts all of us.”
“Unlike some conventions that have their headquarters outside the cities where they operate, Atlanta is the only home Dragon Con has ever had,” the group said on its FB page. “We have great faith that our state’s leaders and legislators will, eventually, do the right thing for all Georgians.”
The head of California-based tech giant Salesforce, Marc Benioff, promised to scale back operations if the bill passes into law, while Academic group Southern Sociological Society, which comes to Atlanta every three years, warned it will take its convention and its 1,200 members elsewhere, the AJC reports.
And if that wasn’t enough, even Twitter has endorsed Georgia Prospers, the coalition of companies organized to advocate for equal treatment of all citizens.
These moves have caused shockwaves along the corridors of power in Georgia. State leaders are backpedaling from the more thornier and contentious portions of the “Religious Freedom” bill, including Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge. The two men have formed an alliance against religious liberty bills that many believe would allow for discrimination against Georgia’s LGBT community.
Check out how major corporate leaders, inside and outside of Atlanta, have come out against Georgia’s “Religious Freedom” bill, beginning with the president of Microsoft Brad Smith:
 

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