The Boeing 757 is the most common twin-jet airliner. It is the largest single-aisle passenger aircraft that the manufacturer made. The Georgia legislature has a 757 of its own, known as the “religious liberty bill”. It states that faith-based organizations and individuals can opt out of serving couples, gay or straight, if they cited a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction regarding marriage. No pastor can be forced to perform a same-sex marriage, and no individual can be forced to attend. The faith-based organizations have the right to refuse the use of their facilities if an event is objectionable. They can refuse to hire an employee if their religious beliefs are in contrast to the organization. These organizations include churches, religious schools or associations.
The Georgia House and Senate approved the 757 bill. Governor Nathan Deal has the ability to sign it into law or veto it. He is being urged to veto by companies such as Coca-Cola, Delta, Google, Home Depot, and Microsoft. These businesses see a potential loss of $1 billion to $2 billion from the perception that Georgia is a discriminatory state. One significant loss could be the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium not hosting a Super Bowl. Atlanta was a host in 1994 and 2000, but the current dome is outdated. The National Football League (NFL) has given a basic guarantee that any city that builds a new stadium will host a future Super Bowl. Atlanta is one of four possible sites, along with Miami, New Orleans and Tampa, to be a host in 2019 or 2020. The NFL has voiced its opinion about the 757 bill. “NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “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.” In layman’s terms – if you pass the bill you will not host a Super Bowl. It’s not like they haven’t done this before. Super Bowl XXVII was played in Pasadena, CA instead of Tempe, AZ because the state would not recognize Martin Luther King Jr. as a national holiday. Once the bill was passed as a law, Arizona was awarded Super Bowl XXX.
The Mercedes-Benz Stadium, to be completed in 2017, will be the site of the college football championship game in 2018 and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Final Four in 2020. The NCAA issued this statement: “We’ll continue to monitor current events, which include issues surrounding diversity, in all cities bidding on NCAA championships and events, as well as cities that have already been named as future host sites. Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values. It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events.” Apparently a lot of people around the nation are interested to see if the 757 will fly.
Photo Credit: Atlanta Falcons