The Arkansas state legislature on Tuesday passed a ‘religious freedom’ bill nearly identical to the law that is causing a firestorm in Indiana and threatens that state’s reputation and economy.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson had earlier indicated he planned to sign SB 1228 into law. It’s not known if the massive backlash now facing Indiana Governor Mike Pence will impact thst decision.
‘The Arkansas and Indiana bills are virtually identical in terms of language and intent,’ Sarah Warbelow, legal director at the Human Rights Campaign, told the Huffington Post.
‘They place LGBT people, people of color, religious minorities, women and many more people at risk of discrimination.’
Sponsors of the Arkansas bill rejected efforts to add a clause to the bill that would explicitly bar discrimination of gays and lesbians – a ‘fix’ Pence vows will be added to Indiana’s law by this week.
Over the weekend, HRC President Chad Griffin called the Arkansas bill ‘a poison pill for jobs and investment’ in the state.
Griffin warned that if Hutchinson signed the bill into law ‘his reputation will be forever stained and the people of the state of Arkansas will suffer for his willingness to cater to a small political faction whose sole intent is to discriminate against their fellow Arkansans.’