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Arkansas governor surprises by refusing to sign anti-gay 'religious liberty' bill in current form

Asa Hutchinson says his own son signed a petition demanding a veto

Arkansas governor surprises by refusing to sign anti-gay 'religious liberty' bill in current form

He had vowed to sign it, then Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson didn’t.

On Wednesday, Hutchinson surprised all when he announced he would not #HB1228 into law.

The ‘religious liberty’ bill passed by the legislature this week is nearly identical to the one causing a firestorm of protest in Indiana. They are seen by critics as a way for private businesses to legally discriminate against gays and lesbians.

‘This is a bill that in ordinary times would not be controversial. these are not ordinary times,’ Hutchinson said. 

The Republican governor also said: ‘My position is clear: I’ve asked (the legislature) to remedy it, change current law, recall it, change language on it.’

If Hutchinson had signed, he likely would have faced the same immense backlash Indiana is at the center of. WalMart, which is headquartered in Arkansas and is the world’s largest retailer, had already asked him to veto the bill.

Hutchinson said some of that backlash was personal.

‘My son Seth, signed the petition asking me, Dad, the governor, to veto this bill,’ Hutchinson said. ‘And he gave me permission to make that reference, and it shows that … there’s a generational difference of opinion on these issues.’

Hutchinson’s son wrote on Facebook: ‘I’m proud to have made a small contribution to the overall effort to stop discrimination against the LGBT community in Arkansas, the state that I love.

‘I love and respect my father very much, but sometimes we have political disagreements, just as many families do.’

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