GA State. Sen. McKoon won't support Braves for opposition of rel - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

GA State. Sen. McKoon won't support Braves for opposition of religious freedom bill

Georgia State Sen. Josh McKoon. (Source: WTVM) Georgia State Sen. Josh McKoon. (Source: WTVM)
McKoon's Facebook post from April 3. (Source: Facebook screenshot) McKoon's Facebook post from April 3. (Source: Facebook screenshot)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Georgia's loudest supporter of the religious freedom legislation took to social media earlier this week to say he won't be supporting the home team this baseball season.

On April 3, Republican State Sen. Josh McKoon (GA-29) said he won't be supporting the Atlanta Braves on Opening Day, or going forward, because of the team's opposition of religious freedom legislation in Georgia.

I won't be watching any Atlanta Braves baseball this year and not just because they are likely to disappoint. The Braves & Major League Baseball opposed modest religious freedom laws in Georgia. So I'm not going to support them with my money/viewership. ?#‎gapol.

McKoon, who is in Atlanta on Thursday, sent this statement, saying:

The Braves have taken a stand against my fundamental freedom, the right of free exercise. So I will not pay hard earned money to an organization which holds my religious freedom in contempt.

For their part, the Braves released a statement on March 18, saying:

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 Braves and Major League Baseball, as well as the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks, NFL, NBA, Disney, Coca-Cola, Marvel, AMC, Viacom and others voiced opposition to HB 757, threatening to pull sporting events and film productions from the Peach state. Despite the outcry from these companies, the state's General Assembly passed the bill, leaving it the Deal to either sign or veto.

HB 757 would have allowed faith-based organizations and persons to not have to serve both same-sex or heterosexual couples - if it went against that person's or organizations religious beliefs.

Georgia Prospers, a group supporting the economic growth of industry in the state through equality, has been a haven for groups, businesses and allies against this type of legislation. Many of those who've opposed the legislation have joined the collective, but McKoon, when asked on Twitter if he'd stop supporting those groups, said he'd address them one at a time. 

Deal vetoed House Bill 757, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act on March 28, saying the bill did not stand for Georgia's "character."

My decision regarding HB 757 is not just about protecting the faith-based community or providing a business friendly climate for job growth in Georgia," Deal said. "This is about the character of our state and the character of its people. Georgia is a welcoming state filled with warm, friendly and loving people.

That same day, McKoon voiced his strong displeasure for Deal's decision.

"To veto what was a compromised, watered-down bill that have been agreed to by the House and Senate leadership - and then to sort of cast aspersions on the work product of lots of hardworking legislators - I'm just extremely disappointed in the governor's actions," McKoon said on March 28.

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