Published On: Tue, Mar 22nd, 2016

NFL opposes Georgia’s religious freedom bill, may prevent Atlanta from hosting Super Bowls

The NFL came out against a proposed religious exemptions bill in Georgia Friday, saying the deal could have an effect on the Super Bowl selection process for 2019 and 2020.

Protecting religious freedom, providing religious exemptions in the new bill may not be all that is on the line if Georgia’s Republican Gov., Nathan Deal signs it into law. NFL strong arming the state against the move, saying it would “encourage discrimination” was not a foreseen consequence.


“NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites.”
The bill is the result of bakers and florists (just to name two) sued for not participating with same-sex weddings. Freedom of conscience has been a sore topic over the last couple of years.
“I have heard from both sides, and I’m sure I’ll continue to hear from both sides,” stated Gov. Deal. “I will take their opinions into consideration, and I’ll do what I’m required to do: Which is to make the difficult decision on a very difficult subject.”
Gay pride american flagFalcons owner Arthur Blank has his sights set on Atlanta getting the Super Bowl for at least one of those years and because of that he also has come out against the bill that would protect opponents of same-sex marriage amid concerns it could lead to discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people.

“I strongly believe a diverse, inclusive and welcoming Georgia is critical to our citizens and the millions of visitors coming to enjoy all that our great state has to offer,” Blank said in a statement Friday. “House Bill 757 undermines these principles and would have long-lasting negative impact on our state and the people of Georgia.”

Georgia Baptist Mission Board executive director J. Robert White is in favor of the bill: “All Georgia citizens, organizations and businesses need protection from adverse legislation that would infringe upon their religious beliefs regarding marriage, defined in the Bible as the union of one man and one woman,” White said last month. “It is wrong to accuse persons of discrimination who live and conduct their businesses according to their deeply held religious beliefs.”
Other businesses are against the bill, including Delta Air Lines, Google, Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Porsche, and Wells Fargo.
“We are standing up for the principles of inclusion and fair treatment for every Georgia citizen and every visitor to Georgia,” Joe Folz, vice president of Porsche Cars North America said in February. “Legislation that promotes – or even appears to allow – discrimination against certain classes of people hurts Georgia’s hard-earned reputation.”
Atlanta has already hosted the Super Bowl twice; in 1994 and 2000. The city recently built a new stadium, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is one of the reasons the city is being considered as a host city for the 2019 and 2020 Super Bowls.
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- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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