Conservative groups blast Nathan Deal’s veto of ‘religious liberty’ bill

A coalition of conservative and religious groups in Georgia on Tuesday blasted Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of a “religious liberty” bill this week, saying he had turned his back on the state’s faith community.

“What this says to me is Gov. Deal is out of touch with the people of this state,” said Tanya Ditty, state director of Concerned Women for America, who was joined with leaders of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board and a half dozen other organizations at a Capitol news conference.

Lawmakers, Ditty said, “are not elected to represent Hollywood values or Wall Street values. The voters are tired of political correctness.”

Deal vetoed House Bill 757 on Monday, saying the bill doesn’t reflect the state’s image as home to “warm, friendly and loving people.”

“As I’ve said before, I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia, of which my family and I have been a part of for all of our lives,” Deal said Monday.

Within minutes of his announcement, at least one state senator joined a colleague in calling for a special session of the Legislature to override Deal’s veto. A third senator, Sen. Marty Harbin, R-Tyrone, said Tuesday he also supported called a special session. None of the three, however, are chamber leaders.

A three-fifths vote by each chamber would be required for the General Assembly to call itself into session, and then two-thirds majorities of both the House and Senate would have to vote to override. It’s considered unlikely that either would get the necessary votes.

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