The two-term Republican and his office received thousands of emails and hundreds of calls on the debate of the bill

By Caitlin Keating
March 28, 2016 01:10 PM
AP; Inset: Getty

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the controversial “religious liberty bill” on Monday that would allow faith-based business owners to deny services to same-sex couples.

“Our people work side by side without regard to the color of our skin, or the religion we adhere to,” he said during a news conference at his office. “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. “For that reason, I will veto HB 757.”

“I have examined the protections that this bill proposes to provide to the faith based community and I can find no examples of any of those circumstances occurring in our state,” he continued. “I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia.”

On Thursday, almost 40 celebrities, including Anne Hathaway, Julianne Moore, Matt Bomer, Lee Daniels, Seth MacFarlane, Ryan Murphy, Aaron Sorkin, Marisa Tomei and Harvey Weinstein signed an open letter issued by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest organization supporting the LGBT community.

The letter told Deal, who had until May 3 to sign the bill, that they would no longer work in the state of Georgia if it was passed.

“As you know, Atlanta is often referred to as the Hollywood of the South. During the last fiscal year, at least 248 films and television productions were shot in Georgia, adding at least $1.7 billion in direct spending to the state’s economy,” part of the letter read.

On Monday, Deal said that the bill doesn’t reflect the state of Georgia, which he says is full of “warm, friendly and loving people.”

The proposed bill didn’t just receive criticism from Hollywood celebrities, the state’s professional sports franchises and technology corporations, including Apple, Intel, PayPal and Yelp were also against it.

The Weinstein Company issued a statement on Thursday saying they they would stop filming the latest Lee Daniels film if the bill was passed.

“The Weinstein Company will not stand behind sanctioning the discrimination of LGBT people or any American. We have plans in place to begin filming Lee Daniels’ new film in Georgia later this year, but will move the production if this unlawful bill is enacted. We hope Governor Deal will veto bill HB 757 and not allow sanctioned bigotry to become law in Georgia,” a company spokesman said.