AMC, the studio that produces The Walking Dead TV series, has joined with Disney, Marvel, and the NFL to take a principled stand for the LGBT community and against Georgia’s discriminatory “Religious-Liberty” bill also known as House Bill 757 . The Walking Dead is currently filmed in Georgia.
This is very bad news for the Peach State, because they not only risk losing their chance to host the next Superbowl but now they could lose a significant number of local jobs. The Walking Dead has also boosted tourism and even the housing market within their state.
The network issued a statement to the Los Angeles Times about their position, stating, “As a company, AMC Networks believes that discrimination of any kind is reprehensible. We applaud Governor Deal’s leadership in resisting a previous version of this divisive legislation and urge him to reject the current version as well.”
Disney is the parent company of Marvel Studios; both companies are threatening to boycott any productions within that state should Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal sign House Bill 757 into law.
Using tax incentives Georgia has lured Hollywood productions like The Walking Dead and many of Marvel’s superhero big screen productions to film in their state. Gov. Deal even boasted about his state’s partnership with Marvel, saying, “Ant-Man employed 3,579 Georgians, spent more than $106 million in Georgia and utilized 22,413 hotel rooms during filming.”
Here’s a YouTube video of this story.
The religious-liberty bill was originally intended to allow pastors and religious officials to choose not to conduct wedding ceremonies for LGBT couples. However, the bill quickly devolved with provisions were added that opened the door for individuals and religious organizations to refuse services to the LGBT community. The person or organization would just have to cite “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction regarding marriage.”
The bill would allow any church or religious organization who rents their facilities to the public, to discriminate against same-sex couples. But many feel that this bill also opens the door for other types of discrimination.
Maggie Garrett, director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, wrote a letter to Georgia Senators explaining that “any person, business, or taxpayer-funded organization could refuse anyone else rights, services, and benefits because they: are part of an interracial couple; are part of an interfaith couple; are a single mother; are part of a same-sex couple; are divorced; are remarried; live or have lived with a partner without being married; or have had sex outside of marriage at any time in their life.”
The bill’s sponsor Senator Greg Kirk, who’s also a religious official, told his fellow lawmakers who were concerned about faith-based organizations discriminating against the LGBT community, “I have never known a faith-based organization to turn anyone away.”
“This law does not allow discrimination,” he falsely stated.
Kirk: HB 757 protects those millions who believe in traditional marriage. #gapol
— Jon Richards (@SiteROI) February 19, 2016
African-American Democratic Senator Emanuel Jones challenged Kirk’s definition of “faith-based organizations,” pointing out that the Ku Klux Klan would also fall under that definition. In typical Republican fashion, Senator Kirk responded by comparing the Black Panther’s to the KKK.
Chris Carr, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic development, once stated:
‘More than 100 new businesses have relocated or expanded in Georgia to support the [film and TV] industry, creating jobs for Georgians as well as economic opportunities for our communities and small businesses and ensuring Georgia’s place in the industry well into the future.’
On Wednesday, a Disney spokesman made an ominous statement regarding the company’s future projects in the Peach state, saying, “Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law.”
Featured image via Getty.