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Mother of a Transgender Child in Georgia: You Are As You Were Meant to Be Amanda Dewis & Family ~ Johns Creek
As Gov. Deal Leaves Office, Another ‘Thank You’ for Vetoing Notorious License to Discriminate January 11, 2019

As Governor Nathan Deal begins his life outside of elected office, we thank him for standing up for the rights of all Georgians in 2016 by vetoing House Bill 757, a dangerously broad religious exemptions bill that would have allowed taxpayer-funded organizations to deny services and employment to LGBT people and many others.

The governor declared in his opposition statement that, “[W]e should heed the ‘hands-off’ admonition of the First Amendment to our Constitution. When legislative bodies attempt to do otherwise, the inclusions and omissions in their statutes can lead to discrimination, even though it may be unintentional. That is too great a risk to take.”“I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia of which my family and I are a part of for all of our lives.”

We respect the important role religion plays in the lives of so many Georgians and we are grateful that the governor’s action acknowledged that religion and equality can coexist to the benefit of all.

“I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia of which my family and I are a part of for all of our lives. … We are working to make life better for our families and our communities. That is the character of Georgia. I intend to do my part to keep it that way.”
—Gov. Nathan Deal, signing statement vetoing HB 757

Governor Deal further affirmed that, “I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia of which my family and I are a part of for all of our lives. This is about the character of our State and the character of its people. Georgia is a welcoming state filled with warm, friendly and loving people. Our cities and countryside are populated with people who worship God in a myriad of ways and in very diverse settings. Our people work side-by-side without regard to the color of our skin, or the religion we adhere to. We are working to make life better for our families and our communities. That is the character of Georgia. I intend to do my part to keep it that way.”

Attempts to pass a Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Georgia began in 2014 and grew until Gov. Deal’s March 2016 veto—a wise economic choice in addition to simply being the right thing to do.

Because of Governor Deal’s bravery, the residents of our great state will not suffer from lost revenue by businesses who might have chosen not to work here and that Georgia will not lose out on the opportunities to host major events like the upcoming 2019 Super Bowl by groups seeking a more inclusive environment. Moreover, his resolve gave comfort not just to the LGBT people who would have personally suffered under the proposal but also to the family, friends, and neighbors who love and support them.

Gov. Deal’s strong stance against a state RFRA continued after the veto and paved the way for the passage of a desperately needed re-write of the state’s adoption code stripped of any potentially discriminatory language.

As he leaves office, let’s give him another thanks for preserving the welcoming character of Georgia by vetoing this notorious License to Discriminate. 

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Tonight, in a unanimous vote, the City of #Brookhaven became the 7th city in Georgia to pass an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. Help build this local momentum for LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination laws: Contact your local lawmakers now: georgiaunites.org/LATE/ pic.twitter.com/6elza5tUBQ

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