ATLANTA (WXIA) -- GOP lawmakers contacted by 11Alive News say Gov. Nathan Deal's veto of a religious freedom bill can wait until 2017 for a possible override.
A special session of the Georgia legislature appears unlikely, despite calls to overturn Gov. Deal’s veto of a religious freedom bill. Lawmakers tell us they have no stomach for it – especially since a veto override is unlikely anyway.
11Alive News spent much of Thursday calling and texting legislators – specifically, Republicans who were part of the overwhelming majority voting for the religious freedom bill when it passed two weeks ago. They overwhelmingly say they have no desire for a special session of the legislature to try to override Gov. Deal’s veto. All of them asked us to keep their identities anonymous; feelers are still circulating among override supporters.
Thursday at the Capitol, Kelvin Cochran was the main attraction at a sparsely attended rally in the Capitol calling for lawmakers to overturn Gov. Deal’s veto of a religious freedom bill.
"It is time for the body of Christ to rise," said Cochran, the Atlanta fire chief fired after writing and circulating a book in which he called homosexuality a perversion.
Although lawmakers went home last week, backers of the religious freedom bill want them to come back for a special session to override the governor’s veto. This, in spite of the numbers: 108 House members voted for the bill, but it would take 120 House votes to override a veto.
It means backers of the veto override will likely have to wait until next year – maybe longer.
"We also are very aware that the gubernatorial race is right around the corner. And we want to see religious freedom as a main priority of the next governor of this state," said Pastor Garland Hunt of Our Father’s House in Norcross.
One south Georgia lawmaker who voted for the bill answered "Oh, Hell no!" when asked if he was inclined to support a special session. 60 percent of lawmakers can petition for a special session; It takes 2/3 of them to override a veto.