Conservatives Call for Boycott of Companies That Opposed SB 377

Mar 3, 2014

Josh McKoon
Credit Denis O'Hayer/WABE

A conservative group claiming more than two million members says it will call for a boycott of some of Georgia’s largest corporations.

The group, made up of several organizations, including the 1.4-million member Georgia Baptist Convention, blames the companies for the failure of Senate Bill 377.

Called the “Preservation of Religious Freedom Act,” the measure would have allowed private businesses to deny service based on the business owner’s religious beliefs. A common concern is that SB 377 would allow businesses the right to deny service to gay customers.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) says the companies got it wrong when they opposed the bill as discriminatory, saying at the Capitol Monday, “The only discrimination that’s going on in this state is against people of faith. This law is the law of the land in 31 states. It’s the law at the federal level.” 

Sen. McKoon was referring to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which became law during the Clinton administration. He offered to substitute that law’s language last week to get SB 377 to the Senate floor before the deadline, known as Crossover Day, but there were no takers.

The companies now threatened with a statewide boycott are UPS, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Home Depot and the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG). Julianne Thompson, the Atlanta Tea Party Chair, said the group is also targeting all members of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and is considering expanding its call for a boycott nationwide.

IHG issued a statement late Monday, saying, in part, “We reiterate our commitment to celebrating diversity… and support the equal treatment of members of the LGBTQ community.”

A Home Depot representative told WABE the legislation runs counter to the company’s values.

A statement from Coca-Cola said, in part, “Coca-Cola is one of the world’s most inclusive brands and we value and celebrate diversity….” “We do not condone intolerance or discrimination of any kind anywhere in the world.”