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MPAA Is ‘Confident’ Georgia Governor Won’t Sign ‘Discriminatory’ Religious Liberty Bill

An MPAA official said on Monday that officials at the organization are “confident” that Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal won’t sign what they called a “discriminatory” religious liberty bill that was passed by state lawmakers last week.

The legislation has spurred opposition from business groups in the state, who fear it will trigger the kind of backlash that forced Indiana to reconsider its religious liberty legislation that passed last summer.

“We are confident that Governor Deal will not allow a discriminatory bill to become law in Georgia,” said Vans Stevenson, senior vice president of state government affairs.

The state has gone through a production boom, as its 30% credit is one of the most generous incentives in the country.

But on Saturday, Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin urged studios and production companies to refuse to commit to any further productions in Georgia if Deal does not veto the legislation.

Griffin called the bill “an affront to all the values Hollywood prides itself on.”

Georgia legislators passed the bill last week. It protects religious officials from having to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, and would allow faith-based organizations to deny services or employment to those who violate their “sincerely held religious belief.”

Several weeks ago, Deal warned that he would reject any bill that he determined was legalized discrimination. But opponents say that the compromise reached this week will still permit discrimination against gays and lesbians. Deal has not said whether he will sign the revised legislation.

A number of corporations including Apple and Salesforce have come out against the bill.

In addition to drawing a number of TV shows like “Vampire Diaries” and “The Walking Dead,” Georgia has become a production hub for mega-budget tentpole pictures. Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” is shooting at Pinewood Studios outside Atlanta, and “Captain America: Civil War” shot there last summer.

By some estimates the state has moved into the No. 3 position for production, behind California and New York. According to the state’s Dept. of Economic Development, $1.7 billion was spent on production in fiscal 2015. In 2007, it had been $132.5 million.

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