georgia religious liberty

Disney & Marvel Threaten Georgia Boycot If Religious Liberty Bill Is Signed Into Law

Disney and Marvel are threatening to stop filming in Georgia if Governor Nathan Deal signs a pending religious freedom bill. The Free Exercise Protection Act would prevent residents from being forced to participate in gay marriage proceedings if they have a faith-based objection to being party to such ceremonies.

Outside of Hollywood and New York City, Georgia is the location where the most movie and television shows are filmed. The religious freedom bill protest could cause a significant and negative impact on the economy in the state. The move by Disney and Marvel, as well as other media producers, has provoked a major battle between gay marriage supporters and residents who want religious freedom respected. Marvel is a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company movie studio, the Washington Post reports.

“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,” a media release from the Walt Disney Company said.

The thousands of Georgia citizens who support the Free Exercise Protection Act staunchly maintain they will be discriminated against and their religious freedom rights trampled upon if Governor Deal does not sign the bill into law.

The religious liberty bill exempts religious leaders from being mandated to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. The pending law would also permit faith-based organizations to refuse the use of their facilities for any type of event they find “objectionable” to their religious beliefs. If the Georgia legislation is enacted, faith groups also have the authority not to hire or continue the employment of anyone who has religious practices or beliefs that differ from the organization’s.

Yesterday, lawmakers at the Georgia statehouse changed some of the language in the Free Exercise Protection Act that proved to be troublesome during prior voting sessions. The bill quickly passed, CNS News reports.

Many in the LGBT community and bill protesters have dubbed the Georgia religious freedom legislation an anti-gay law. The Disney and Marvel media release was shared just a day after gay rights leader Chad Griffin urged other movie and television film studios, producers, and directors to join the threatened ban in Georgia.

In 2014, the England-based Pinewood Group developed a massive movie studio in the Atlanta suburb of Atlanta, Both Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War (both are Marvel productions) were filmed on the 700 acres and 11 sound stages that comprise the studio. AMC’s The Walking Dead is also filmed in Georgia.

Here’s an excerpt from an AMC statement about Georgia’s religious liberty bill.

“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.”

If television and movie filming suddenly stopped in Georgia, there surely would be an economic impact in several regions of the state. However, the hit to the wallet would not likely be one-sided. Film productions in Georgia are a win-win for all involved. The price incentives and low taxes offered to production companies to attract them to the region cannot be found in Hollywood and NYC.

The movie studios and related “infrastructure” already established to serve film shoots, could prove difficult to re-create elsewhere at such an affordable price.

What do you think about the Georgia religious liberty law and the boycott threats issued by some studios and LGBT activists?

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