Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, a Republican, on Monday vetoed a controversial “religious freedom” bill that critics said would have allowed businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community.

“I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia, of which I and my family have been a part of all of our lives,” Deal told reporters at a press conference at the state Capitol.

“Our people work side by side without regard to the color of our skin, or the religion we adhere to. We are working to make life better for our families and our communities. That is the character of Georgia. I intend to do my part to keep it that way. For that reason, I will veto House Bill 757,” Deal added.

Social conservatives in the state have been pushing for such a measure for three legislative sessions.

Deal was under increasing pressure from major corporations and the entertainment industry to reject the bill.

San Francisco-based Salesforce threatened to reduce its investment in Georgia if the bill become law, while the National Football League (NFL) said that the bill could knock out Georgia from consideration as a Super Bowl host. Hollywood stars and studios also condemned the bill, with studios threatening to boycott the state.

(Related: Hollywood stars, studios join campaign calling on Georgia governor to veto anti-gay law.)

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT advocate, applauded the move.

“The message to Governor Nathan Deal was loud and clear: this deplorable legislation was bad for his constituents, bad for businesses, and bad for Georgia's future,” he said. “Discrimination and intolerance have no place in the 21st century, and any town, city or state that enshrines it into law will not be judged kindly by history or by the American public.”