Georgia could face TV industry boycott over anti-gay adoption bill

TV execs have threatened to move production on their shows out of Georgia if the state passes an anti-gay adoption bill.

Last week the Georgia State Senate passed SB-375, a bill that would allow Georgia’s adoption agencies to deny gay couples the ability to adopt a child based on religious objection.

The bill, backed by state Republicans would allow child welfare organisations – including adoption and foster care agencies – to turn away qualified Georgians seeking to care for a child in need if the agency has a religious objection.

The law has since led to threats from the entertainment industry to put an end to the state’s booming TV industry if the bill passes.

Atlanta, Georgia has become a major hub for the media industry because the state offers massive tax incentives to film there – and the combined industry is now worth an estimated $7 billion a year.

A string of hit shows including The Walking Dead, Black Lightning, Dynasty, Designing Women and Queer Eye are filmed in Atlanta, as well as a string of Marvel films and other blockbuster productions.

But that could all go out the door if the state passes the anti-gay law.

TV show exec Ben Wexler led the threats for the industry to leave the state if the bill is signed into law.

The TV producer, who was an exec on comedy show The Grinder, said: “To my fellow showrunners: if this dumb bill becomes law, let’s be done filming television shows in Georgia.”

Julie Klausner, creator of Difficult People, added: “Agree. I stand with Ben.”

Steven DeKnight, creator of Srarz series Spartacus, appropriately added his own voice to the crowd of defiance.

He added: “I’m with Ben.”

Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black added: “This ‘solution’ in search of problem (where none exists) could create real problems for the working people of #Georgia when businesses deem the state too intolerant to call it their home.”

Others have pressed the creators of The Walking Dead – by far the most prominent TV show filmed in Georgia – to weigh in.

Meanwhile LGBT activists have warned lawmakers in the Georgia House to reject the Senate’s bill.

Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign, said: “Plain and simple – SB 375 is discrimination dressed up as a ‘solution’ to a fake problem.

“It creates an unnecessary hardship for potential LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents in Georgia and primarily harms the children looking for a loving home.

“It’s unfortunate that leaders are focusing on this bill, instead of concrete ways to improve the child welfare system in Georgia. We ask the Georgia House of Representatives to reject this bill.”

DNC LGBTQ Media Director Lucas Acosta said: “Plain and simple, Georgia’s Republican lawmakers are discriminating against LGBTQ parents.

“Rather than focusing on empowering families or uniting children with loving parents, Georgia Republicans want to strip qualified potential parents of their ability to provide for a child in need.

“With over 400,000 children in foster care nationwide and nearly 14,000 in Georgia alone, the Georgia legislature should be focusing on how it can attract more qualified and loving parents to the system – not rejecting potential homes based on the gender identity or sexual orientation of the parents.”

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