Georgia governor vetoes religious bill protecting same-sex marriage opponents

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal

ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has vetoed legislation allowing clergy to refuse performing gay marriage and protecting people who refuse to attend the ceremonies.

The Republican rejected the bill on Monday.

Republican majorities passed the bill to broadly protect people acting on their religion. It also would have protected clergy who won’t perform gay marriages and people who won’t attend a wedding for religious reasons.

Churches and affiliated religious groups also could have declined to serve or hire someone based on their faith.

The bill’s opponents said it excused discrimination and could trample local ordinances protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Coca-Cola and other big-name Georgia companies joined the NFL, prominent Hollywood figures and film studios urging Deal to reject the proposal. Some threatened to boycott the state if Deal didn’t veto.

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