Political Insider

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Nathan Deal as religious liberty peacemaker? 'We shall see.'

There is perhaps no other politician within the Georgia GOP that can heal the divide moreso than Gov. Nathan Deal, who has at times pointedly told supporters the measure is not on his agenda but also, at other times, called for its passage if it adheres to federal language that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1993.

In an interview Tuesday, he urged lawmakers to model the proposal next year on that 1993 language, which does not include the anti-discrimination clause that many critics have said is essential to prevent the legislation from being used as an excuse to discriminate against gays now that same-sex marriage is legal.

Said Deal:

"As long as we follow the federal model, which has not produced the kinds of catastrophic results that maybe both sides are predicting that legislation of that type would do, I think we stand a very good chance of getting a piece of legislation accomplished that will rightfully protect people from government in terms of their religious beliefs and at the same time not be disruptive to commerce."

As to whether he will try to play peacemaker between the two warring GOP factions, Deal hinted that role was already on his mind.

"We shall see," he said with a chuckle.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.