Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce opposes religious exemption bills

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A fight is festering pitting some in the religious community against the Metro-Atlanta business community.

The issue: should pastors be able to refuse to marry same sex couples?

If the bills recently passed by the Georgia house and senate are worked out, it could be law.

But the metro-Atlanta chamber of commerce representing three thousand businesses is against the legislation stating this in a news release:

“The Metro Atlanta Chamber joins more than 300 businesses that have signed the Georgia Prospers pledge strongly promoting inclusion and fair treatment for all. Georgia has been ranked the No. 1 state in the nation for business, and this statewide coalition of companies large and small supporting Georgia Prospers is committed to ensuring that the solid reputation of our state remains intact. We greatly appreciate the engagement of Governor Deal, the thoughtful deliberation by Speaker Ralston and our legislators in ensuring a business climate that is positive for Georgia.”

Business owners like Chris Flores are upset with the legislation too.

“If things went in such a direction to where I felt like this legislation was hurting my business, I was not able to hire people I wanted to hire or gain the customer base that I wanted to gain from it, yeah, I would definitely consider moving my business,” Flores said.

The openly gay business owner of “ratio bakeshop” in Decatur doesn’t like what’s cooking in Georgia’s state Capitol building.

“Being a gay person and owning a business, it kind of gives you second thoughts about wanting to have your business in a state where you can be discriminated against, but yet you still have to pay the same taxes,” said Flores.

He isn’t the only upset business owner angry about legislation saying clergy cannot be forced to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony in Georgia.

Kelvin Williams, the co-founder of 373-k telecom said he’s packing up and moving out.

“There are 2 reasons why we’re moving out, number one, it’s hard for us to attract talent because our staff is made up of people from all walks of life. And the second reason is we have a serious problem, giving our tax dollars, our corporate income dollars to a state that would even pass this type of legislation.”

But republican state Senator Tommie Williams is on the other side of the argument and wants the bill to become law.

“They just don’t want them to be out there talking about their religious belief which are that a man and a women should constitute marriage,” Williams said.

This is not a done deal.  More movement on the bill could come at the end of the month.

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