Published On: Wed, Apr 1st, 2015

Arkansas joins Indiana with ‘religious freedom’ bill, critics call for ‘inclusion’

Arkansas lawmakers approved a religious-freedom bill similar to the one recently passed in Indiana. The move Tuesday sparked critics claiming increased discrimination towards homosexuals as protests and backlash began.

This bill also mirrors the Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, which prohibits the state and local governments from infringing on a person’s religious beliefs without a “compelling” interest. In other words, these actions (Indiana, Arkansas) prevent lawsuits and forced participation of bakers, florists, shirt makers etc… of “participating” in the activities if they view it to be against their religion.

The measure now goes to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has said he will sign it into law.

 photo  Julyo based on work by Gilbert Baker, 1979 via wikimedia commons

photo Julyo based on work by Gilbert Baker, 1979 via wikimedia commons

Doug McMillon, the CEO of Arkansas-based WalMart, issued a statement Tuesday pressing Hutchinson to “veto this legislation,” and adding that the law would “undermine the spirit of inclusion” in the state.

“[It] does not reflect the values we proudly uphold,” McMillon’s statement read.

Indiana GOP Gov. Mike Pence signed a similar bill on Thursday.  19 other states have comparable measures on the books, including Illinois, which President Obama was a state senator supported in 1998.
Historically, this law has received wide bipartisan support.
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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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