More business leaders are announcing that they are leaving the US state of Georgia over its controversial “religious freedom” bill.
HB 757 has been widely condemned, but last month passed unanimously in the House of Representatives 161-0.
Originally intended to protect pastors who refuse to perform same-sex weddings, the bill has now passed in the House again by 104-65, after extra “protections” were added, meaning businesses and employees could discriminate against LGBT people.
It has been pointed out by human rights groups, that the bill would even allow hospitals to refuse necessary treatment to people based on their race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Kelvin Williams, the founder of telecoms company 373k, which has its headquarters in Georgia, has said he is in the process of moving his company to Delaware,
Speaking to Business Insider, Williams said he was making good on a promise to move if HB 757 passed.
“When they passed FADA the first time, we decided to move at that point. Everyone thought it was a threat, but no. We were dead serious,” he said.
The state’s Governor earlier this month suggested he was against signing the bill.
Governor Nathan Deal used bible verse to make his point, saying: “We do not have a belief, in my way of looking at religion, that says that we have to discriminate against anybody.”
“I think what the New Testament teaches us,” he continued “is that Jesus reached out to those who were considered outcasts.”
Despite his strong message, the revised version of the bill was still passed by both the House and Senate in the state on Wednesday.
The telecom startup has around 20 employees who all voted on the decision to move.
Those against moving will be allowed to stay in Georgia, as the company has remote workers.
Williams said people had sent messages of support, and hate messages, but that the love outweighed the hate.
“One reason we decided to leave is because our employees are from around the world. You name it, we’ve got it here. What I tell people is that, under this law, if it is to become a law, I only have two employees that would be acceptable in the state of Georgia, only two heterosexuals that have only been married once,” he says.
Last year, when Indiana passed a similar “religious freedom” bill, Marc Benioff, founder of Salesforce, a $4 billion company said it would boycott the state.