MACON, GA.-- - The Religious Liberty Bill was vetoed by Governor Nathan Deal last March, but the debate on the legislation continues. Now it is making its way to Macon. Two state senators who will go head-to-head on the subject next week.
"Perhaps we should simply heed the hands off admonition of the first amendment,” says Governor Nathan Deal.
That was his response after he vetoed House Bill 757 or the Religious Liberty Bill.
"I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia,” explains Governor Deal.
Now six months later, the legislation is still a topic of conversation. The two senators will be involved in four debates across Georgia on the subject. One of those will be at Mercer University.
"The whole premise of having the debate is to help spark more public debating and keep the conversation going. Have more public input and better education of the public. Let's hear from the public,” says State Senator of District 13 Greg Kirk.
Senator Greg Kirk supports the religious liberty bill while State Senator Vincent Fort opposed it, but they both agree the conversation must be had.
"These bills are going to be reintroduced. There may even be an attempt by the right wing Republicans to override the governor’s veto,” says State Senator of District 39 Vincent Fort.
There are three changes the Religious Liberty legislation proposed: clearing clergy from performing marriages against their beliefs, business owners would accommodate employees on days of worship, and religious institutions could deny facility rentals or ceremonies against their beliefs.
"Pastors should be able to refuse like a gay marriage if they want to because it's their own personal beliefs,” says Mercer University student Abigail Standard.
Even now the opinions on the legislation vary across campus.
"Everyone has the right to be in love and love another person, but if it's just not something they believe in, they're not comfortable with it I don't think they should be forced to,” says Mercer University student Haleigh Kersey, proving that there is still a divide on the topic and more conversations and debate to be had.
The debate in Macon will be held at Mercer University's auditorium on the 22nd at 1 p.m. The other debates next week will be held in Atlanta on the 20th, Savannah on the 21st, and Tifton on September 22nd.