Gov. Nathan Deal defied fellow Republicans on Monday by vetoing a controversial “religious liberty” measure aimed at strengthening legal protections for opponents of gay marriage, a move that could jeopardize his legislative agenda and shape the race for his successor.
His decision was swiftly met with calls from Republican lawmakers who approved the legislation less than two weeks ago and now want to overturn his decision, calling for a veto session.
It was a sharp reminder that this debate is not going away. And the veto is likely to herald a more acrimonious relationship between Deal, who long prided himself on smooth relations with the legislative branch, and his party’s rank-and-file legislators.
At stake is the biggest item left on Deal’s to-do list: a plan to “revolutionize” the state’s education system by rewriting how schools are funded, teachers are paid and students are taught.