Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's veto of religious liberty bill 'cowardly,' say critics

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal speaks to the media at the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia, January 30, 2014. | REUTERS / Tami Chappell

Social conservatives have spoken out against Georgia's Gov. Nathan Deal's move to veto House Bill 757, calling it cowardly and discriminatory toward Christians.

On Monday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal announced his plan to veto House Bill 757, a measure which seeks to protect clergy and ministers who refuse to cater to same-sex marriage. Attorney and columnist David French called the move a "craven capitulation" on religious freedom.

"[HB 757] wouldn't block a single gay marriage. It wouldn't deny a single gay person access to the marketplace," said French in an opinion piece published in the National Review. "Instead, it would merely offer a bare minimum of legal protections to Georgia citizens who are already confronting anti-Christian bigotry and discrimination."

Tony Perkins, the president of Family Research Council, echoed French's sentiments and called Deal a cowardly politician for vetoing House Bill 757. In a statement, he lamented the situation in which some people or organizations could lose their tax exempt status or professional license, and be fined by the state for standing up for their belief that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.

Christian apologist Dr. Michael Brown also had some strong words for Gov. Deal's decision to veto the religious freedom bill. For him, the politician's move was tantamount to trampling on Georgia's religious liberty just to maintain political correctness, according to Charisma News.

Like French and Perkins, Brown said he is disappointed in Deal's "act of cowardice." Although he respects Deal's position as the governor of Georgia, he called the veto an attack on religious freedom, the report details.

Meanwhile, The Christian Post's executive editor Dr. Richard Land released a statement slamming Deal for choosing "finances over freedom." He said the Georgia governor considered hosting a Super Bowl more important that giving the faithful the freedom to practice their beliefs.

Gov. Deal, however, argued that House Bill 757 was unnecessary. In response to his decision, Sen. Michael Crane called on the legislature to conduct a special session to override the veto of the religious liberty bill.