Georgia governor vetoes Pastor Protection Act, evangelist Franklin Graham reacts

A screengrab from a video showing one of Rev. Franklin Graham's sermons. | YouTube Screen Shot

Evangelist Franklin Graham has expressed his disappointment after Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia vetoed the Pastor Protection Act.

"Republican Governor Nathan Deal has sold out the state of Georgia," he wrote in Facebook. "By vetoing the Free Exercise Protection Act this morning, he warmly welcomed the LGBT community and in effect told people of faith that they take second place."  

The Pastor Protection Act, otherwise known as House Bill 757, mandates that pastors, priests, officials of a religious organizations and similar cannot be forced by the government to solemnize marriages that go against their beliefs.

He wrote, "House Bill 757 would have protected pastors from having to perform same-sex marriages and would have protected churches from being forced to use their facilities for ceremonies against their religious beliefs."

While Christians are generally for the bill, many are not. The National Football League has put pressure on the government by saying that the Pastor Protection Act would play a part in their decision on whether or not to hold the 2019 or 2020 Super Bowl in Atlanta. Disney has likewise expressed their opposition to it by saying that they would stop making movies in Georgia if the governor signs it.

"This conservative governor has caved in to pressure from the NFL and major corporations and is now a part of backing the LGBT agenda. This is a dark hour in Nathan Deal's long political career," Graham also said.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Tanner, is viewed as something that discriminates against the LGBT community. According to CNN, it would allow faith-based organizations to refuse lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders jobs and services.

"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 are a part of for all of our lives," Deal said Monday. "Our actions on HB 757 are not just about protecting the faith-based community or providing a business-friendly climate for job growth in Georgia. This is about the character of our State and the character of its people."

Graham encourages people to write the governor to express their disappointment on his decision.