April 6, 2016
Georgia’s discriminatory piece of legislation House Bill 757, which was propped up as a defense of religious liberty, has been in the news a lot lately, and thankfully, the story has a happy ending. Georgia’s governor Nathan Deal vetoed the bill, meaning that LGBT people will not have to suffer through the implications of the bill.
Even more uplifting than the smacking down of this bill is what the end of this tale says about the country as a whole.
This bill would have been disastrous for Georgia’s LGBT community, providing businesses and other groups the ability to discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds in multiple realms, from hiring to the issuing of marriage licenses.
Several big companies, such as Disney, AMC, the NFL, Apple, Coca-Cola and hundreds more spoke out against the legislation, many threatening boycotts that would economically hurt Georgia to a significant degree. Huge blockbusters like Marvel’s (owned by Disney) superhero movies and highly-rated television shows like The Walking Dead are filmed in Georgia, and both companies were willing to go somewhere else should this legislation pass.
These companies would not be directly hurt by this legislation at all; they could continue business and see no problems. However, they still decided to speak out, and in some cases threaten boycotts, against it. Why is this? Is it because these big businesses have a fuzzy, progressive heart?
No. Remember when the CEO of Marvel donated a million dollars to Trump? Maybe you missed that story. Perhaps you’re aware of how little many of these companies like Disney, pay their workers? Surely you’ve heard about how much the NFL cares about concussions and domestic abuse, right?
These companies doing this for the positive press. It is easy to be cynical about this, especially as it highlights the impact large companies have on legislation. America’s political system is warped by the influences of big money, making the biggest donors’ desires much more persuasive.
However, this actually says something very positive about how his nation, as a whole, feels about LGBT issues. The fact that these companies have so much to gain in good will from consumers simply for standing against LGBT discrimination shows that Americans a whole really does despise discrimination against the LGBT community.
This is not to say that bigotry against this group does not exist, because it certainly does. America is a diverse and complex country filled with many conflicting views, but these companies know that generally speaking they look good when they stand against crap like this now-dead bill.
Don’t think too highly of these companies, but at the same time, don’t be cynical; Americans are largely against legislative bigotry against the LGBT community.