Filmmaker Tyler Perry has added his voice to those of other Hollywood figures urging Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to veto the state’s antigay “religious liberty” bill.
“At Tyler Perry Studios, we believe in inclusion and equality for all people,” a Perry spokeswoman told Variety in an article published Friday. “We do not tolerate bigotry, division, and discrimination. We have tremendous confidence in Governor Deal’s leadership and ability to continue to lead our great state forward and urge him to veto this bill.” Perry has a production studio in Atlanta and is developing a new one on the site of a former Army base, Variety notes.
House Bill 757, currently awaiting the governor’s signature or veto, would prevent the state government from taking any punitive action against an individual or faith-based organization that speaks or behaves according to a sincerely held “religious or moral conviction” that marriage should only take place between two people of the opposite sex, or that sexual relations should be limited to such a marriage. Such faith-based organizations could include social service providers, such as adoption agencies, food pantries, or homeless shelters, which often receive public funding. Opponents say the bill would therefore sanction discrimination against same-sex couples, single parents, and many other groups.
Georgia is often called “the Hollywood of the South” because so much film and TV production takes place there. At least 248 productions were shot there during the state’s 2015 fiscal year.
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin recently called on entertainment companies to commit to a boycott of Georgia if HB 757 becomes law. Many have responded by threatening a boycott and calling on Deal to veto the bill, including Disney, Marvel, AMC, Viacom, 21st Century Fox, Time Warner, Starz, the Weinstein Co., Lionsgate, and numerous celebrities, showrunners, and executives. Major companies in other industries have condemned the legislation as well, and officials with the National Football League have said that it it beomes law, it could jeopardize Atlanta's chance of hosting a Super Bowl.
Also, the Motion Picture Association of America has expressed confidence that Deal will veto the bill, Variety reports. The Republican governor, who has voiced reservations about the legislation, has until May 3 to make a decision.