COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Georgia Religious Liberty Bill is advancing to the governor’s desk after passing the House and Senate. The bill would allow some organizations to deny services they violate their religious beliefs.
Some major companies are threatening to pull business out of Georgia if the Religious Liberty Bill passes. Some of the organizations play major roles in the film industry.
Paul Pierce with the Springer Opera House says the bill hurts the growing film industry in Georgia. Several organizations are working to bring more film related jobs to Columbus.
“It’s film industry is just taking off so, any idea that Georgia is not open for business, the state of Georgia just can’t afford that,” Pierce said.
Senator Josh McKoon supports the Religious Liberty Bill and does not think the corporations will actually pull business from Georgia.
“It’s one of the easiest places to finance film and television production in the country. People are not going to leave that environment because at the end of the day, these companies are in business to make money,” Sen. McKoon said.
He says if Governor Nathan Deal signs this bill into law, this controversy will be something of the distant past a few months from now.
“Almost every one of these companies does business with very repressive regimes. If we’re talking about the film industry, one of the number one markets for them is China, the People’s Republic of China. They have a horrific record on human rights,” Sen. McKoon explained.
Pierce says theater and film are collaborative industries.
“That’s what the creative economy is all about, collaboration. That’s what we’re accustomed to and that’s the atmosphere that we want to send to the world,” Pierce said.
McKoon was part of a last-minute proposal, which would have allowed employees to file suit against a company if they feel that company had violated its own non-discrimination employment policy. The proposal was withdrawn.
Governor Deal has until May 3rd to sign or veto the bill.