jefferson faceWritten by Don Byrd

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued a warning to the state legislature not to send him a proposal that would “allow discrimination in order to protect people of faith.” HB 757 includes a provision that would allow persons, including businesses, to refuse service if it would violate their religious beliefs regarding marriage to do so.

In remarks Thursday, Deal indicated he would reject the bill in its current form, and argued that Scripture counsels against the proposal.

The AJC blog has more:

Standing in the lobby of a government building after a ribbon-cutting ceremony, he laid out a lengthy condemnation of the measure from a biblical perspective, first noting that he is a Southern Baptist who took religion courses at Mercer University.

“What the New Testament teaches us is that Jesus reached out to those who were considered the outcasts, the ones that did not conform to the religious societies’ view of the world … We do not have a belief in my way of looking at religion that says we have to discriminate against anybody. If you were to apply those standards to the teaching of Jesus, I don’t think they fit.”

Originally, the bill concerned only the rights of clergy and churches to refuse to participate in wedding ceremonies, protections which the First Amendment surely already offers. The legislation was changed in the Senate to add more controversial language. 

Stay tuned.