Guardians of the Galaxy

Disney and Marvel have threatened to stop filming their movies in the US state of Georgia if an anti-gay bill called The Free Exercise Protection Act is signed into law.

If passed, the bill would offer protection to faith-based businesses that refuse to provide services that they say violate their beliefs — a move which critics say would effectively legalise discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The film industry has become a major money maker for Georgia, with the some 248 films produced last year generating around $6 billion for the local economy, according to The Los Angeles Times. TV and film producers favour the state because of tax incentives that lower the cost of production.

Marvel’s sequel to the superhero film Guardians of the Galaxy (pictured) is currently being filmed there.

“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,” Disney said in a statement.

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said: “It’s appalling that anti-LGBT activists in Georgia are trying to pass legislation creating an explicit right to discriminate against LGBT Americans.

“We urge other studios, major corporations and fair-minded Georgians to continue speaking out and urging Governor Deal to veto this heinous piece of legislation.”

Other major corporations with headquarters in Atlanta, such as Coca-Cola and Home Depot, as well as The National Football League and television network AMC have come out against the state’s bill.

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