Georgia governor slams door on ‘religious liberty’ revival

Gov. Nathan Deal/AJC file

Gov. Nathan Deal/AJC file

Gov. Nathan Deal was unequivocal in his opposition to a revived “religious liberty” measure on Thursday, signaling he would veto the measure if it made it to his desk.

“I didn’t want there to be any confusion about where I stand on the RFRA bill: I have no desire or appetite to entertain that legislation,” Deal said.

He was referring to a one-page proposal introduced this week by state Sen. Marty Harbin that brought the debate over the legislation back to the forefront. His measure would require the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to apply in Georgia.

The governor on Wednesday said the state must take an “extremely cautious” approach to the measure but also said it was “only fair that we give it due consideration.” On Thursday, though, Deal suggested his position had hardened as he criticized Harbin’s proposal in unsparing terms.

“Our state is doing exceptionally well and we’ve seen rather disastrous consequences from other states who have made a departure on that issue,” he said. “I see no reason or justification for us to do anything further.”

 


 

Harbin’s measure is significantly scaled down from the eight-page legislation that Deal vetoed last year, in part to make it harder for the governor to oppose. Deal, while a member of Congress in the 1990s, voted for the federal version of the legislation that Harbin’s measure addresses.

On Thursday, Deal referred to his veto message from last year when pressed on whether he would consider signing such legislation. In that veto message, the governor argued that “religious liberty” legislation threatens to undercut Georgia’s pro-business environment and its welcoming image.

He was then asked if he considered the measure dead on arrival.

“This is not something that is part of my agenda,” he said, “and it’s something I do not view as being beneficial to the state.”

Reader Comments 0

54 comments
Thamra Leslie Crawford
Thamra Leslie Crawford

Forcing one's beliefs on another person is against our Constitution. Smart move Governor Deal !

Jackie Cranford Sherwood
Jackie Cranford Sherwood

Can't wait to get a different Republican governor in than this man. We surely have someone better than him!

Adrian Johnson
Adrian Johnson

He didn't even MAKE A CHOICE YET. Why are you all speaking for the GOVERNOR on an event that hasn't even happened? That's insane!

Adrian Johnson
Adrian Johnson

If he did sell his soul to the devil, this bill that the Senate wishes to pass would be get passed and he wouldn't have to worry about harming THE STATES Pro-business environment. "The Devil" is good at fixing issues like that.

Greg Pearson
Greg Pearson

Deal is a dork Not overall this bill in particular, he's just a dork.

J Frank Lynch
J Frank Lynch

Deal may be the best governor this state has ever had

Morgan Eubanks
Morgan Eubanks

For somebody that I opposed, he has certainly taken the high road on this. Twice.

Lee Freeman
Lee Freeman

Wow the ones who are mad about this are sad that they can't discriminate and be hypocritical Christians.

Greg Voigt
Greg Voigt

Y'all do realize that the first amendment is under attack by the left, just like the second one is, right?

J Frank Lynch
J Frank Lynch

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? The US Constitution is the supreme law of the entire country, applies equally to all 50 states and supersedes any and all state and local statutes. California, New York and Chicago did not "charge" any part of the 2nd Amendment! \U0001f644\U0001f644

Brian Coulter
Brian Coulter

If the First Amendment is so great, then why do you need new legislation?

Greg Voigt
Greg Voigt

what you mean,what. Y'all keep saying the freedom of religion is protected by the constitution, well so is the second amendment, which doesn't even exist in some states.

Issac Reid
Issac Reid

This person has been voting for the same party forever and d9es

Greg Voigt
Greg Voigt

So tell me about the process that changed the constitution on the second amendment in Chicago, New York, and California.

Greg Voigt
Greg Voigt

J Frank Lynch they may not have changed it there, but it sure as hell isn't the law of the land there. If so, their right to keep and bear arms would not be infringed.

Issac Reid
Issac Reid

It makes no sense. They are already protected. They need to start paying taxes and evangelicals fall for this crap

Greg Voigt
Greg Voigt

The second amendment is already covered under the constitution, but it is also constantly under attack.

Issac Reid
Issac Reid

My father is an evangelical preacher and has been at least forty years. Do you really think I don't know what goes on Stephan Chass Brodie

Dennis Lee Bates Jr.
Dennis Lee Bates Jr.

Hey genius, most ministers do pay taxes. As for the church itself, when are other non-profits going to pay business tax? The key word is NON-PROFIT. Most of the funds raised in the churches pay their overhead, and provide for outreach materials, etc. I know, the argument is about the mega-churches. I don't agree with them, but a lot of them do their part to help those in need. They also have an overhead to cover; mortgages, utilities, etc., etc. Just so you know, those who have a staff of daily workers do file taxes, they have to report a payroll, etc.

Issac Reid
Issac Reid

What is this. I was with the church organizations in the country Dennis Lee Bates Jr. They didn't pay nothing. I'm not a genius but obviously smarter than you are

Stephan Chass Brodie
Stephan Chass Brodie

Baptist churches the pastor normally always drives a new Caddy lol my Christian church barely can afford to keep the AC going and they have to show expenses to the government to make sure they aren't being shiesty not sure if anyone knew this

Issac Reid
Issac Reid

Greg Voigt how is it under attack. I'm tired of the paranoia

Dennis Lee Bates Jr.
Dennis Lee Bates Jr.

Issac Reid, the church its self is exempt, however, most of the church staff do file taxes. If the church employees a staff on payroll, they have to pay payroll taxes. Those larger churches tend to have their office as a separate business, set as a non-profit, listed under the main "organization" and is usually listed as a not for profit corporation, but they still have to report incomes. The ministry part is exempt, because typically, the funds brought in are used for upkeep, utilities and outreach. They usually have separate accounts for the different departments, due to taxes.

Daniel Eason
Daniel Eason

Issac, Dennis is right. Churches do pay payroll taxes. Ministers have to pay taxes. Payroll is usually the majority of a church's budget. Churches are exempt from income and property taxes, because the income of churches are intended to do good in the areas served by the church. It'd be a better idea to audit churches and tax income when donations wind up going to support a lavish lifestyle for preachers who shouldn't be preachers.

Greg Voigt
Greg Voigt

Issac Reid well, look at New York, California, Chicago,Dc, New Jersey. You think the people there are protected by the second amendment? Hell no they aren't. If so, their right to keep and bear arms would not be infringed. And who cares what you are tired of?

Andy Young
Andy Young

Suck it, crackpots. Georgia is open for business, bitches.

Allen Yuhas
Allen Yuhas

He made the right choice. We are already granted religious freedom by the 1st amendment. No need for a law that makes it legal to discriminate while hiding behind your religion.

Trude Sansbury
Trude Sansbury

Thank you for sticking to your beliefs and not being bulllied on this one.

Rod Miller
Rod Miller

Why does GNN repost the same story repeatedly? We know Deal is a worthless RINO

Bonnie Martin
Bonnie Martin

If YOU have all the answers, why don't YOU run for Gubner??

Daniel Eason
Daniel Eason

This is a new part of the story, even if it was expected.

Deborah Hill
Deborah Hill

He's smart. These bills are business killers

Lanie Barlow
Lanie Barlow

Not much to discuss, he is far from liberal , but he is not an idiot. Why would you want to do something that would be so disastrous to Georgia's economy (as illustrated by other states who have done this)?

Steve Morris
Steve Morris

Zain Malik Vietnam vet come over and discuss

Steve Morris
Steve Morris

Lanie Barlow 21 states have the law, this year will be 23. Texas has the law and creates half of new jobs in America. Don't be ignorant

Rod Miller
Rod Miller

Soros trolls are obsessed with promoting Cultural Marxism, so much so they insist it is "good for business"

Joseph Schriefer
Joseph Schriefer

OEF vet, younger, stronger, better trained. Come discuss it with me stevie