ATLANTA (AP) — The sponsor of Georgia's bill protecting opponents of same-sex marriage is defending the proposal after a wave of opposition from big-name corporations and sports organizations.

Republican Senator Greg Kirk said Governor Nathan Deal should sign the measure. Kirk says Deal needs to decide whether the state is "intolerant" of people who believe marriage should be between a man and a woman.

The changes sent to Deal's desk would prevent government burden of religious belief and government penalty against faith-based organizations, including refusal to serve or hire someone. It also protects religious officials who decline to perform gay marriages and people who refuse to attend a wedding.

Deal has until May 3 to sign or veto the bill. He opposed earlier versions.

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