Georgia Governor vetoes' 'anti-gay bill' following Hollywood pressure

Disney bosses threatened to pull state filming if Nathan Deal signed controversial bill.

The Governor of Georgia has vetoed a 'religious freedom' bill that would have restricted the rights of gay people following the threat of a Hollywood boycott.

Movie executives at Disney and Marvel threatened to pull projects from the state if Governor Nathan Deal signed the controversial bill that would, critics claim, allow businesses to discriminate against and refuse service to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Stars like Julianne Moore and Anne Hathaway added their names to a list of celebrities who also opposed the legislation.

They appeared on a Human Rights Campaign letter sent to Governor Deal last week (ends25Mar16).

Others who signed the HRC letter included Matt Bomer, Harvey Weinstein, Marisa Tomei, screenwriters Dustin Lance Black and Diablo Cody, Zoe Kravitz, Glee creator Ryan Murphy, and actor/filmmaker Rob Reiner.

And it appears the weight of Hollywood has helped the Governor make up his mind.

Under increasing pressure from critics and major corporations that do business in Georgia, Deal announced on Monday (28Mar16) he will veto the HB 757 bill, which would have given faith-based organisations in Georgia the option to deny services to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Supporters said the measure would have protected religious freedom.

At a news conference, the Governor said his decision was "about the character of our state and the character of our people. Georgia is a welcoming state. It is full of loving, kind and generous people."

The bill passed both houses of the state legislature. More than a dozen states have approved similar laws in the past year.

Threatening to pull all business in the state, including filming on the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy sequel at Pinewood Studios, located just outside Atlanta, a Disney studio spokesman said, "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."

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