Way to be, Disney.
Currently, the state of Georgia offers really great tax incentives for film companies to work there, which is why a lot of tv shows and movies are now being shot there. It's a huge source of revenue for the state, but that might not be the case if Governor Nathan Deal signs Bill HB 757 into law. The Bill, which the State Legislature passed on March 17th, would allow Georgia residents to violate the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling and discriminate against LGBT+ Americans (via). And now private companies including Disney, Sony, Lionsgate, and Fox are all threatening to bring their considerable business elsewhere if this state-sanctioned violation of human rights is passed.
What exactly is this bill about?
Supporters of the bill are claiming that the bill is about religious liberty. The bill would allow any faith-based organization to "deny services or employment to those who violate their “sincerely held religious belief.” (Via). That means that LGBT+ people could be denied life-saving medical care, and it would allow a taxpayer-funded service to discriminate against job applicants based on their religious beliefs, sexuality, or gender identity (via). Let's be clear about our rights as citizens. The United States government cannot persecute us based on our religious beliefs.
But that doesn't mean that religious people don't have to follow the law, just like everyone else.
The government can deny religious exemptions to the law in cases that "serve a compelling government interest". That's why you can't go around murdering people in the name of your religion. And it's why allowing religious exemptions in cases of discrimination is unConstitutional. (The Washington Post has a great-write up about this issue).
“Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law.”
Personally, I wish that private companies didn't have this much leverage over our legal processes. But unlike the deceptive Super PACs and lobbyists, Disney, Marvel, and many other filmmaking companies are being transparent about their motives and actions. It's a PR move to be sure, but I'll take it.