A high-profile consortium of companies, including Disney, Marvel, the NFL, Time Warner, Viacom, AMC, Coca-Cola, Delta, Salesforce, and others, have threatened to boycott or curtail business in Georgia if the state’s governor signs the Free Exercise Protection Act into law. Last week, lawmakers passed the so-called “religious liberty” bill, which its opponents argue is discriminatory and legalizes discrimination against the gay and lesbian community.
The bill, in essence, offers legal safeguards for faith-based organizations and businesses to refuse services to same-sex couples or avoid hiring employees based on their religious beliefs. The measure has support among conservative lawmakers and religious leaders and organizations within the state. Among its detractors is Georgia Prospers, an umbrella group comprised of hundreds of major companies with major business ties within the state.
This scenario echoes previous recent battles involving highly divisive so-called religious liberties laws in states like Indiana and Arkansas. Last year, in both cases, each state revised their bills after outcry in the business community against the measures forced lawmakers to reconsider.
In the past 24 hours, Disney, Marvel, and Time Warner became the latest companies to issue disapprovals about the bill. “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,” read a company statement.