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Jim GallowayJim Galloway

As the Legislature leaves, Kasim Reed voices his opposition to ‘religious liberty’ bill

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (left) with Gov. Nathan Deal at a 2014 event in Savannah. AJC file/Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (left) with Gov. Nathan Deal at a 2014 event in Savannah. AJC file/Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

Minutes after the General Assembly ended its 2016 session, the fight over “religious liberty” legislation now on Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk sharply increased with this statement of opposition from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed:

“I know my former colleagues in the General Assembly share my desire to keep Georgia at the forefront of economic development in the Southeast. I also recognize the sincerity of their efforts to balance those interests with the concerns of the faith communities in their districts. I oppose HB 757, but I will continue to work with Governor Deal, Speaker Ralston, and Lieutenant Governor Cagle on this and other issues of importance to our state.”

A late effort to punish the business community for its opposition to HB 757, contained in HB 904, was abandoned as Thursday night wore on.

You’ll notice that the mayor’s message has highly diplomatic overtones. The Legislature, after all, had just passed a MARTA rail bill likely to bring more change to the agency than at any time since its inception.

And Reed had earlier expressed his “disappointment” with HB 757. But the timing of this latest statement, with no legislation at stake, appears to signal that his opposition is about to take a higher profile.