Anti-Gay Bill Could Cost Atlanta a Super Bowl

NFL warns it will look at local, state laws to make sure they're non-discriminatory
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2016 8:52 AM CDT
Anti-Gay Bill Could Cost Atlanta a Super Bowl
Workers construct the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the future home of the Atlanta Falcons, on Feb. 11, 2016, in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

The Atlanta Falcons have a new stadium under construction and hopes of landing future Super Bowls, but if Georgia House Bill 757 is signed into law, the Georgia capital may never nab the big game, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The so-called "Religious Freedom Bill," which would give religious officials a pass from overseeing gay marriages, has passed Georgia's general assembly and now just needs Gov. Nathan Deal's signature, WXIA reports. But in a statement Friday, an NFL rep noted that "NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness" and conceded that "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, who's vying for the 2020 Super Bowl, responded Friday, per the Journal-Constitution, stating, "I strongly believe a diverse, inclusive and welcoming Georgia is critical" and that this bill would "[undermine] these principles." The Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks have also come out against the bill. It wouldn't be the first time the NFL has made such a move: It transferred the 1993 Super Bowl from Arizona to California after Arizona wouldn't recognize MLK Jr. Day. And the NFL isn't the only major group calling for a boycott if Georgia moves forward. The Human Rights Campaign is calling on Hollywood to cease production in the state. ThinkProgress notes Apple has spoken up as well, urging Deal to "send a clear message that Georgia's future is one of inclusion, diversity and continued prosperity," per the Washington Post. (It's not a total surprise this is happening.)

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