NFL Stands Up For LGBT Rights, Threatens To Pull Out Of Georgia If Discrimination Bill Passes

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For those in Georgia who oppose same-sex marriage, the state legislature recently approved the proposal for a bill that will make discrimination on the grounds of “religious freedom” even easier to get away with, reports the New York Times.

House Bill 757 aims to prevent the government from penalizing organizations that deny “social, educational or charitable services that violate such faith-based organization’s sincerely held religious belief.” Additionally, the bill declares that the Georgia government may not “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a law, rule, regulation, ordinance or resolution of general applicability.”

In defense of the law, Republican Georgia Senator Greg Kirk, said:

‘When the Supreme Court changed the definition of marriage, dynamics changed. There was a need for a law, for this law, and it took Georgia to lead the way of the country to put this law together.’

Although many of Georgia’s politicians have favored the bill, there are still those speaking out against it, including the state’s first openly gay legislator, Karla Drenner, who said, “This bill suggests that at my core, there is something offensive about who God made me to be.”

Along with Drenner and several gay rights groups, many of Georgia’s most influential companies have spoken against the bill. The NFL joined the fray, too, warning that, should this bill pass, they could very well pass over Atlanta as the cite for the 2019 Super Bowl.

In an official statement, the NFL told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

‘NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites.’

Patrick Redford of Deadspin reminds readers that the NFL has not been shy about taking the Super Bowl away from cities whose actions appear intolerant. In 1993, they even moved Super Bowl XXVII from Arizona to Los Angeles because Arizona did not want to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The fate of this bill currently sits with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. As of now, it’s uncertain how the NFL’s statement will affect Deal and his decision. Ideally, he would not sign the bill because it was the right the thing to do, not because he was afraid of the Super Bowl happening elsewhere, but still. The most important thing is that this bill does not pass.

For more information on the NFL’s response tot he bill, watch coverage of the story below, courtesy of Veuer via YouTube.

Featured image via Erin Costa/Flickr, available under a Creative Commons license.