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Georgia Gov.'s Veto of Religious Freedom Bill Sparks Concern among African-American Ministers

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Apr 04
  • Comments

A group of African-American pastors is expressing their disappointment that Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed legislation designed to protect religious freedom.

Gov. Deal vetoed HB 757 which would have allowed ministers to refuse to perform same-sex marriages and allowed faith-based businesses to refuse to provide services for events which would contradict their religious beliefs.

According to Christian Today, Deal claimed that he did not object to the Pastor Protection Act, passed by the House of Representatives. He did, however, object to parts of HB 757.

"The other versions of the bill, however, contained language that could give rise to state-sanctioned discrimination. I did have problems with that and made my concerns known as did many other individuals and organisations, including some within the faith-based community," he said in a statement.

The African-American ministers, including former Atlanta Fire Department Chief Kelvin Cochran, who was fired over his views on same-sex marriage, say that Deal caved in to pressure from big businesses which threatened to boycott Georgia if Deal didn’t veto the bill.

"We were totally, highly offended and angered to hear that the governor turned his back on faith-based organisations, the faith-based leadership in the state," said Pastor Garland Hunt, senior pastor at The Father’s House in Norcross, Georgia.

Hunt added that the pastors had met with Deal several times “and he promised us that he would sign legislation that was basically similar to what was presented to him so we feel like he didn’t keep his word.”

"We love the Lord and we're going to stand for our religious freedom and we love our religious freedom just as much as anybody else," the pastors stated in a press conference.

They are now urging the Georgia legislature to override the Gov.’s veto.

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Publication date: April 4, 2016