"As close as a state can stay to the original federal language, the safer you are," said Deal, who voted for the federal legislation while a member of Congress in the 1990s. "It has been interpreted in the courts, so by having that model you narrow some of the arguments about what it does or does not do."
He called the anti-discrimination clause "the most important" addition.
"And that is a delicate thing to do," he said. "There's been so much hyperbole. It's hard to identify what can you say without saying too much, what can you say without saying too little, and what will people read into either version.”
Another benefit from the bill's failure, Deal said, is a year's distance from the uproar over similar bills in Arkansas and Indiana, which led to threats of boycotts, travel bans and international criticism.
"We all understand that this is a difficult issue," said Deal, "and I hope that if and when it comes to my desk in the future it will not have the same kind of divisiveness associated in those two states."
State Sen. Josh McKoon, one of the sponsors of the failed measure, seems to have a different leaning. He said that the Arkansas compromise, which addresses only government actions, bore quite a resemblance to his final draft.