Corporate America urges Georgia governor to veto religious-liberty bill

Disney, Time Warner say they would not do business in state if bill becomes law


Major corporations are warning Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal not to sign a religious-liberty bill into law.

Delta Air Lines, Google, Home Depot, IBM, Marriott, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, UPS and Verizon belong to a coalition urging Deal to veto the measure. Three of those companies are among 20 Fortune 500 firms headquartered in Georgia.

Disney and Time Warner have joined the NFL and the AMC Network threatening to avoid doing business in the state if the Free Exercise Protection Act, which opponents describe as anti-gay, becomes law.

The Motion Picture Association of America, an industry trade group, called the bill “discriminatory” and said it did not expect it to be signed into law.

Passed by the legislature last week, the bill protects religious leaders from being forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies and individuals from being forced to attend such events. The bill also allows faith-based organizations to deny use of facilities for events they find “objectionable."

Opponents said the law would legalize anti-gay discrimination. Proponents argue that it would be discriminatory not to pass such protections.

The cost of a boycott by the film and television industry could be sizable.

In 2014, Georgia ranked third among states -- behind California and New York -- and fifth among states and countries as the primary production location for feature films, the Washington Post reported.

“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,” the Disney Co. said in a statement.