Yet another reminder that protection of your First Amendment rights are guaranteed by the Constitution. Protection from the consequences of exercising those rights are not.
If Georgia chooses to turn the “religious liberty” bill into law, be prepared: Atlanta may not get a Super Bowl.
That was the suggestion from the NFL on Friday when the league released a statement in response to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s question about whether the league had any position on Georgia House Bill 757.
The statement from league spokesman Brian McCarthy reads, “NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites.”
Falcons owner Arthur Blank has hoped to land multiple Super Bowls in the team’s new stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2017. The NFL has previously moved a Super Bowl from Arizona to the Rose Bowl near Los Angeles in the 1992 season after that state refused to recognize the Martin Luther King holiday.
Indeed, all three of Atlanta's major sports franchises oppose the bill.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank then issued this statement:
“One of my bedrock values is ‘Include Everyone’ and it’s a principle we embrace and strive to live each and every day with my family and our associates, a vast majority of which live and work in Georgia. I strongly believe a diverse, inclusive and welcoming Georgia is critical to our citizens and the millions of visitors coming to enjoy all that our great state has to offer. House Bill 757 undermines these principles and would have long-lasting negative impact on our state and the people of Georgia.”
And then the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks weighed in:
“The Atlanta Braves organization believes that House Bill 757 is detrimental to our community and bad for Georgia. Our organization believes in an environment that is inclusive of all people. In addition to allowing discrimination against citizens of this state, the bill will have a profoundly negative impact on our organization. As a Georgia business and employer, we proudly support Georgia Prospers in its goal to ensure that the state’s workplaces and communities are diverse and welcoming for all people, no matter one’s race, sex, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We are proud to represent Georgia and are opposed to any law that endorses discrimination against anyone.”
The Hawks’ organization said:
“For generations, Atlanta has stood at the forefront of civil rights and its diversity is what has made this city a cultural leader in the Southeast. The Hawks strongly believe in the values of inclusion, diversity and equal rights, core principles by which we operate our business and are essential elements in making Atlanta a leading global city.”
Your enshrined bigotry in the name of "religious freedom" will have consequences, Georgia. Are you prepared to deal with them?