Catching Fire in Georgia

Article by David Zambuto   |  esPResso Committee Member

HB 757: a bill that is dividing the nation and making the well-known state of Georgia a hot topic for debate in the media headlines.

Also known as the Free Exercise Protection Act, HB 757 was designed by the government official Joshua McKoon to cater to religious communities. According to the Washington Post, HB 757 would allow for religious authorities to deny performing services for any task that clashes with same-sex marriage, which would legally allow active discrimination towards LGBTQ American citizens. Just recently, this bill was passed on to Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal, who vetoed the bill after receiving critical backlash and economic threats from major players for the states own economy.

Sources from Vanity Fair magazine reveal that some of these major players include Disney, Marvel and AMC studios. AMC has been producing films and television shows, such as the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy 2 movie and the recently finished season of The Walking Dead. Besides these studios, many of Hollywood’s celebrities, including  Anne Hathway, Julianne Moore, Lee Daniels and Ryan Murphy and other prominent figures brought media attention to this bill during Hollywood’s annual famous Gala.

Deadline magazine reported that other major entertainment forces including Lionsgate, which has deep roots in Georgia, have threatened to move their businesses out of the state. TimeWarner, MGM, 21st Century Fox and CBS Corporation have also agreed find business elsewhere if the bill passes.

The damage to the state’s own economy if these businesses leave is estimated at $1.7 trillion or more, which is equal to last year’s net capital, not to mention the damage it will do to Georgia’s reputation. Governor Deal has until May 3 to decide to veto or put the bill into law.

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