A Christian group accused Disney of "declaring war on religion" after the company expressed its opposition to a Georgia bill critics say allows for discrimination against the LGBT community.
Texas Values, a group advocating for "faith, family and freedom in the great state of Texas," called Disney "corporate bullies" after the company threatened to boycott the state of Georgia. Disney threatened the boycott following the state's consideration of a "religious freedom" bill that would allow religious organizations to refuse services to those who are gay or transgender, Pink News reports.
On March 28, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia announced he would veto the bill, HB 757. The veto came after several companies, including Disney, threatened to boycott the state because of the bill.
Many believed the bill would have cost the state, which offers tax breaks, cheap labor and has the third largest film industry in the nation, billions of dollars in lost business.
HB 757 would have allowed pastors to refuse to marry a same-sex couple, and would have granted churches the right to refuse to rent or lease property for events it disagreed with on religious grounds, according to the Los Angeles Times. Additionally, it would have allowed religious groups to fire or not hire employees based on qualities they thought did not fit their religion, such as homosexuality. The law would also apply to organizations like homeless shelters and adoption agencies.
Texas Values called the governor's decision "striking," adding that "the day after Easter, churches in Georgia are told their freedoms are not that important to protect."
“It’s clear that corporate giants like Apple, Disney, NCAA, Intel have finally come out of the closet and declared public war on the religious freedom of clergy and religious schools, as was the protection in Georgia’s very modest HB 757 that they worked to bring down," Texas Values added, according to Pink News.
"Will Disney now ban you from wearing a cross outside your shirt at their parks? Will a Catholic priest be forced to remove his white collar when he takes a picture with Mickey Mouse?"
The governor said the veto was separate from the companies' threats to boycott.
"Georgia is a welcoming state," said Deal, "It is full of loving, kind and generous people. And that is what we should want. I intend to do my part to keep it that way."