Boycott threat insults First Amendment



Pastor Protection Act prompts filmmakers to consider removal of projects in Georgia.


Hollywood filmakers and entertainment goliaths misunderstood the intentions behind a House Bill proposed in February in Georgia, causing arguments and an unnecessary threat of retraction from several studios in the state. Georgia House Bill 757, also known as The Pastor Protection Act, proposed allowing religious officials to refrain from performing marriages that went against their beliefs. However, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the bill March 28 after the controversy began.

The bill stated religious officials shall not be required to perform marriage ceremonies, perform rites or administer sacraments in violation of their legal rights to free exercise of religion.

It would have also stood as a protection for privately owned businesses affiliated with religious organizations that stick to their personal ideals.

However, Hollywood called the bill “The Anti-Gay Bill.” Corporations such as The Walt Disney Company and The Weinstein Company stated they would boycott and abandon their productions in the state if Deal signed.

“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,” according to a statement released by Disney.

One problem with this is the bill never specifically mentioned same-sex marriages. HB 757 was created to allow any religious official to stand by their beliefs and not be punished by law. It did not say same-sex couples could not marry in Georgia. Hollywood acted as if the bill singled out the gay community, but it could also have affected heterosexual couples.

Hollywood’s bullying of Georgia shows how assumptive some people can be and how easily an idea can be misconstrued.