‘Do It for Amazon,’ Say Atlanta Politicians When They Want Something Done
PROSPECT OF ONLINE GIANT MOVING SECOND HEADQUARTERS TO ATLANTA COLORS FIGHTS OVER RELIGION, IMMIGRATION; ‘AMAZON HAS REALLY UPPED THE ANTE’
By Cameron McWhirter and Laura Stevens – WSJ
ATLANTA—From a religious-freedom bill to a proposed English-only constitutional amendment, Georgia politicians and advocates are invoking Amazon’s name.
The prospect of luring the retailer here is being used as political ammunition, notwithstanding that Amazon.com Inc. is months away from picking among Atlanta and 19 other finalists for the location of its second headquarters.
Jeff Graham, who runs the state’s leading gay-rights organization, Georgia Equality, said he mentions the prospect of losing the online-shopping giant to rally opposition to a religious-freedom bill he considers discriminatory.
“Amazon has really upped the ante,” Mr. Graham said.
Proponents of the bill say it will have no impact on gay rights in the state. They say Amazon likely will pay little attention to the measure. An earlier, broader version of the bill passed the state’s General Assembly two years ago, but was vetoed by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal following public criticism from large companies, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
Critics say the current bill, now sitting in a Senate committee, could allow individuals to deny services to people if doing so contradicts their religious convictions.
In December, Republican state Sen. Marty Harbin, a leading backer of the bill, posted a video on YouTube titled “On Amazon and RFRA,” referring to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. (read more)