Madea creator Tyler Perry has added his to voice to the numerous media makers that are blasting Georgia lawmakers for passing House Bill 757, a potentially discriminatory bill, that allows for religious officials to not have to perform marriage ceremonies for individuals whose unions may violate their religious beliefs. This mostly refers to LGBT couples, but could also mean interracial relationships as well depending on the institution’s interpretation of “violation.”
Perry, whose studios are in Atlanta, has asked that Georgia’s governor Nathan Deal veto this bill, which he has until May 3 to do so.
“At Tyler Perry Studios, we believe in inclusion and equality for all people,” a spokesperson for the studios said to Deadline Hollywood. They added, “We do not tolerate bigotry, division and discrimination. We have tremendous confidence in Governor Deal’s leadership and ability to continue to lead our great state forward and urge him to veto this bill.”
If Perry’s clout can’t change Deal’s mind, maybe money can.
See, this bill isn’t just detrimental to those it discriminates against, but for the economy of the entire state. Because of Georgia’s plush tax incentives for film and television studios, the Peach State, especially Atlanta, has become a mini-Hollywood hub. But now, Lionsgate (who distributes Perry’s films) Netflix, Time Warner, CBS, Fox, Sony Pictures, Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, NBCUniversal, Discovery, Open Road Films, The Weinstein Company, MGM and AMC (The Walking Dead) have all threatened to take their business elsewhere if the law isn’t vetoed, Deadline reported noted. If these studios were to pull out this could mean Georgia would lose out on millions and millions of dollars.
Perry himself had plans to expand is already vast Atlanta film empire, which includes construction on a former site of Atlanta’s Fort McPherson Army Base to build into a studio, Deadline wrote. Time will tell what that all means for him given this bill.
Yet, Hollywood bigwigs aren’t the only ones threatening to boycott or voicing concern.
The NFL has warned the state they might too if Georgia laws don’t meet their own standards that “emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard,” said an NFL spokesperson. This too could be devastating for the state as Atlanta would like to host the Superbowl in the future as their new Falcons stadium opens in 2017, Free Thinker noted.
While House Bill 757 has been deemed as an anti-LBGT bill, it could also discriminate against other groups of people as well. The bill states that faith-based organizations don’t have to rent to, hire or provide services to anyone that they believe goes against their religious beliefs or “whose religious beliefs or practices or lack of either are not in accord with the faith-based organization’s sincerely held religious belief.” This could potentially impact people of color, Arabs and Muslims too.