Disney, Marvel vow to leave Georgia if discriminatory bill passed

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What do you do when the people you’re arguing with about human rights don’t actually care about human rights? Threaten to take away something they do care about: money. That’s what Disney and Marvel are doing by issuing a statement this morning that makes it clear that should Georgia Governor Nathaniel Deal sign a pending religious liberty bill that would “allow discriminatory practices” into law, they’re out. This follows Monday’s statement from the Motion Picture Association of America in which they said that they believe Gov. Deal will veto the bill.

In recent years, Georgia has seen a boom in their economy thanks to significant incentives provided to studios for producing there, luring in big productions. $1.7 billion was spent on production in Georgia over the 2015 fiscal year, up from $132.5 million in 2007, and some of that money certainly came from Captain America: Civil War. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is currently being filmed at Pinewood Studios outside Atlanta.

But Marvel says that Guardians could be the last film they make in the state if Governor Deal doesn’t veto a bill passed by the state’s legislator last week. The bill would allow faith-based organizations to deny services or employment to those who violate their “sincerely held religious belief.” Specifically, the bill targets people in the LGBT+ community but could also be easily applied to others such as individuals of the Muslim faith or people who have used abortion services, for example. And while it’s easy to say that it’s not a big deal for a bakery to deny a gay couple a wedding cake, the issue gets far more serious when you consider that this bill would easily allow charities to deny life-saving services such as those provided by homeless shelters. Fundamentally, nobody should ever be denied anything due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or religious beliefs.

It’s a sentiment that Marvel has echoed: “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,” a Disney spokesman said to Variety.

Deal has not indicated whether he would sign or veto the bill, so only time will tell whether the major financial pressure from studios like Disney will influence his decision. At the very least, it’s positive to see these organizations taking a stand to support human rights.

What do you think? Will pressure from Marvel be enough to get the bill vetoed? Let us know in the comments!

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Genevieve LeBlanc
Genevieve LeBlanc 126 posts

Genevieve LeBlanc is a contributing writer for NerdReactor.com and lives in snowy Canada.