Arkansas House Passes Indiana-Style ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill
They can’t even look around and see what’s happening in this country. They can’t see how out of step this is. They can’t see even the business community objecting. They can’t see that no one is complaining about having their religious liberties compromised. But they do it anyway.
The bill, passed when the General Assembly concurred on three amendments from the State Senate, now goes to the state’s Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, who expressed reservations about an earlier bill but more recently said he would sign the measure if it “reaches my desk in similar form as to what has been passed in 20 other states.” The Arkansas Senate passed the measure last week.
While there were several attempts up until the last minute to add a clause to the bill that would explicitly bar discrimination of gays and lesbians, a measure that Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana pledged to push through his Legislature, the sponsors of the bill in the Arkansas General Assembly rejected such moves.
”If you start shaving out exemptions in laws, next thing you know, you’ll gut the law because everyone will want an exemption,” said State Senator Bart Hester, a Republican and one if the bill’s lead supporters.
Business resistance to the bills in both states continued to ratchet up, with Gap and Levi Strauss joining Walmart, Apple, Yelp and other major corporations in expressing disapproval. On Monday, the chief executive of Acxiom, a marketing technology company based in Little Rock that employs nearly 1,600 statewide, urged the governor to veto a bill that was “a deliberate vehicle for enabling discrimination.”