In news today, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has vetoed the anti-LGBT rights bill passed by the Georgia legislature. The bill, known as House Bill 757, would have exempted anyone claiming to be a “faith-based organization” from complying with any hiring, state labor practice, public service, or other laws which cover those who serve the public. In other words, it would allow groups to discriminate against an LGBT person based upon any allegation that it violates their organized “religious belief.”
The reason for the veto was money, pure and simple – an unprecedented number of companies, sports teams, and professional organizations came out against this bill, threatening to take their business elsewhere, or even move their entire company out of state. Sources close to the Governor are alleging (with no confirmation, mind you), that the most worrisome threat was that from the National Football League, which threatened to disallow Atlanta from hosting a future Super Bowl should the law be passed (one wishes that they had said the same about North Carolina’s bill, but then that bill was ram-rodded through their legislature in an unprecedented 3 hours from start to finish).
Republicans have threatened a special session to over-ride the Governor’s veto, and there is no information at this time as to how serious or possible such an attempt may be.
In related news, two transgender men, a lesbian woman, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, and Equality North Carolina have filed a lawsuit in Federal Court, seeking to overturn the state’s disastrous anti-transgender legislation which was passed last Thursday. In response to the lawsuit, North Carolina Republicans are doubling down, releasing a “frequently asked questions” about the new law which has been proven to be deceptive and misleading – a scary thing, coming from the Governor’s office – claiming that the entire purpose of the law was to prevent men from using women’s facilities.
This lawsuit has significant potential to impact the transgender community nationwide. It is very likely that unless one side relents, the case will reach the United States Supreme Court, where at this time it is uncertain whether it would be upheld or thrown out – and on what possible grounds. The Supreme Court has never ruled on the subject matter of whether transgender discrimination is sex discrimination, and transgender-rights observers are nervous about what sort of precedent could be set should a “conservative flu” be contracted by the Court on this issue.
There are some nail-biting times ahead, folks.