The highly-anticipated sequel to Marvel’s Guardians of The Galaxy began production in February, but might be able to get a change of scenery.
The film is currently shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, a location also used for the production of Marvel’s Ant-Man and the upcoming Captain America: Civil War. Due to the recent introduction of a bill in the Georgia legislature called the “Preservation of Religious Freedom Act”, a bill aimed at allowing business owners to refuse service to specific people or groups of people based on the religious beliefs of the business owner.
According to the New Republic, “a restaurateur could deny service to an out-of-wedlock mother, a cop could refuse to intervene in a domestic dispute if his religion allows for husbands beating their wives, and a hotel chain could refuse to rent rooms to Jews, Hindus, or Muslims.”
Georgia’s decision to pursue this legislation has led Disney and, by extension, Marvel Studios to threaten the closure of their operations within the state.
In a statement provided to Polygon, Disney said that “Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law.”
Atlanta has become a major production hub in recent years, due to the tax incentives it provides to the film industry, but it may find itself in a tough spot if the state legislature moves forward with the bill. The Human Rights Campaign has taken aim at the issue, with President Chad Griffin calling on other studios in Hollywood to pressure Georgia to back down. According to Variety, Griffin spoke at an event in Hollywood over the weekend, telling supporters “You have the influence and the opportunity to not only defeat this bill, but to send a message that there are consequences to passing dangerous and hateful laws like this.”
The legislation has passed through the legislature, making its way to the desk of Governor Nathan Deal for final approval. The Governor has yet to state whether or not he will sign the bill.