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Georgia Is The New North Carolina

State lawmakers are gunning for LGBT people and progressives left and right.

The state of Georgia is picking fights left and right: Last week, the state Senate passed a bill that would allow child welfare organizations, including adoption and foster care agencies, to refuse to place children with same-sex couples.

This week, it took at swipe at Delta Airlines, punishing it for ending its relationship with the NRA by eliminating a proposed tax cut that would have benefiting the company, the largest private employer in the state.

Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle had promised to “kill any tax legislation that benefits Delta” it fully reinstated its relationship with the gun lobby. “Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.”

Good point, Mr. Cagle. But conversatives cannot attack progressives expect us not to fight back, either. And we’re already seeing it: The governors of Virginia, New York and Connecticut have all welcomed Delta to move its hub to their state.

And Hollywood stars are speaking out against the Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act: If the bill becomes law, “I think the film and entertainment industry will take a strong stand and will pack up and leave the state of Georgia,” Alyssa Milano, whose Netflix comedy Insatiable shoots in Atlanta, told Variety. “There is just no tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”

The furor over the Peach State is reminiscent of the controversy that faced North Carolina after the passage of SB2. The bill, which was rushed through the state legislature, prohibited trans people from using facilities that match their gender identity and barred local municipalities from passing pro-LGBT ordinances.

Response was swift and furious: The NCAA canceled championship games, chart-topping artists canceled shows, and corporations began contemplating pulling out of North Carolina altogether.

Eventually HB2 was repealed (though its effects are still lingering—lawmakers have punted any actual decision until 2020). But it showed Republicans they couldn’t act with impunity.

And it cost North Carolina Pat McCrory his job.

We’ve seen Georgia lawmakers back down before: When the First Amendment Defense Act came before the legislature in 2016, telecom firm 373K announced it was leaving the state. Disney threatened to do the same. So when the bill landed on Governor Nathan Deal’s desk, he vetoed it.

It’s easy to let the current political climate make you jaded. But if there’s one thing we’ve seen in the past 14 months, it’s that money talks. Think carefully about where you and the businesses you deal with are spending theirs. Are you planning a vacation in Atlanta? A conference in Macon? It’s great if you want to boycott Amazon or FedEx, but are you supporting Delta?

We need to keep hitting the Republican party in its wallet, whether that’s in North Carolina, Georgia, or Washington, D.C.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery