The Georgia House and Senate have passed a bill that would allow for religious exemptions. Although many are praising the religious freedom the new bill would provide, if Georgia’s Republican Gov., Nathan Deal, signs it into law, Atlanta, Georgia may be out of the running to host the Super Bowl either in 2019 or 2020.
FoxNews.com reports that the NFL has come out against the bill, saying it would encourage discrimination which is against NFL policies.
“NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard," league spokesman Brian McCarthy said. "Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites."
If Gov. Deal signs the bill into law, it would protect religious business owners and those with particular religious convictions from being forced to serve those whose lifestyles or beliefs cause them to violate their conscience.
“I have heard from both sides, and I’m sure I’ll continue to hear from both sides,” stated Gov. Deal. “I will take their opinions into consideration, and I’ll do what I’m required to do: Which is to make the difficult decision on a very difficult subject.”
Georgia Baptist Mission Board executive director J. Robert White is in favor of the bill:
“All Georgia citizens, organizations and businesses need protection from adverse legislation that would infringe upon their religious beliefs regarding marriage, defined in the Bible as the union of one man and one woman," White said last month. "It is wrong to accuse persons of discrimination who live and conduct their businesses according to their deeply held religious beliefs."
However, many businesses are against the bill, including Delta Air Lines, Google, Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Porsche, and Wells Fargo.
"We are standing up for the principles of inclusion and fair treatment for every Georgia citizen and every visitor to Georgia," Joe Folz, vice president of Porsche Cars North America said in February. "Legislation that promotes - or even appears to allow - discrimination against certain classes of people hurts Georgia's hard-earned reputation."
Atlanta has already hosted the Super Bowl twice; in 1994 and 2000. The city recently built a new stadium, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is one of the reasons the city is being considered as a host city for the 2019 and 2020 Super Bowls.
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Publication date: March 21, 2016