Arkansas House Sends Right to Discriminate Bill to Governor

Written by scott on April 1st, 2015

ArkansasFirst the state legislature wiped out all local LGBT protections in the state. Now they are sending a bill to the Governor that’s similar to Indiana’s new right to discriminate law:

LGBT Weekly reports:

A religious freedom bill that is similar to the Indiana law that has faced national backlash for legalizing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people cleared the Arkansas Legislature Tuesday. The bill will now go before Gov. Asa Hutchinson, where it is expected to be signed. According to The Huffington Post the Arkansas legislation allows a person who feels his or her exercise of religion has been “substantially burdened” to cite that argument as a claim or defense in a private lawsuit. The legislation also grants corporations the right to religious freedom. This language is not in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and critics say it could be used to override existing anti-discrimination protections.

The Mayor of Little Rock asked the Governor to veto the bill:

Little Rock’s mayor is urging Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto a “religious freedom” bill that critics have said sanctions discrimination against gays and lesbians and that the mayor argues will hurt the state’s economic development efforts. Mayor Mark Stodola called the bill “simply too divisive” in a letter sent to Hutchinson and released by the city on Tuesday.

So did Walmart:

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest company, on Tuesday asked Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto the freshly-passed HB 1228, a so-called “religious freedom” bill that is really a “religious bigotry” law. Immediately after the bill was passed, Wal-Mart released a statement from its CEO, Doug McMillan, asking the governor to veto the bill. In the statement, McMillan says: “Every day in our stores, we see firsthand the benefits diversity and inclusion have on our associates, customers and communities we serve. It all starts with our core basic belief of respect for the individual. Today’s passage of H.B. 1228 threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold. For these reasons, we are asking Governor Hutchinson to veto this legislation.”

But the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown is calling on the state to hold the line:

Dear Marriage Supporter, DON’T LET THEM DO TO ARKANSAS WHAT THEY DID TO INDIANA! Minutes ago Arkansas passed a religious freedom bill. We know the other side is going to try to bully and intimidate Governor Hutchinson out of signing this bill. The time to act is NOW! Support Governor Hutchinson and urge him to Not be Bullied and Sign the Law. Also tweet out #IStandWithArkansas and get onto Facebook and let everyone know your support! It’s urgently needed that you forward this message to your friends and family and ask them to take action as well. We must stand up against this pernicious assault against religious liberty.

The Governor has previously indicated that he plans to sign the bill.


4 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ronald Houk says:

    Go ahead Arkansas! We’ll be watching you closely also. Haters! Piss poor state already. Lets see what happens if you insist on living in the 18th century!

  2. Mike says:

    I have to wonder how these same right-wing fanatics who fostered and pushed this latest assault on LGBT civil and human rights would like the exact same legislation passed against them. While citing ‘religious beliefs’, they need to remember that no one is perfect or free of sin and that judging others based on sexual orientation is also wrong.

  3. Mr Eric G. Osterberg says:

    OK Assa Hutchinson, go ahead and sign the bill if you want to look more stupid than you do already. The loss of jobs and money for your citizens is not going to work well for Arkansas.

  4. Chris says:

    I for one think that Wall Mart should pull out of Indiana because of this, close every single store in INdiana. Sure it will hit at there overall inflow of money (Profet) but that would really put a dent in INdiana as a hole, I live in indiana myself. I cant move anywhere else but this hole thing needs straitened out and pulling a major revanue sorce like the Wall-Mart chain from indiana would just make the goverment cry. And I will drink their tears to stay alive until the bill is fixed or removed entirely.

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