Gov. Asa Hutchinson, being all inclusive.
Maybe the Arkansas legislature has been sequestered for the past several days, or living in a cave, and missed the whole Indiana brouhaha. At any rate, that state's version
of a "religious freedom" bill has passed in the state's House
, and is ready to go to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Like the Indiana law, 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 Arkansas and Indiana bills are virtually identical in terms of language and intent," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director at the Human Rights Campaign. "They place LGBT people, people of color, religious minorities, women and many more people at risk of discrimination." […]
In Arkansas, both Walmart and Acxiom, a big data company, have spoken out against the legislation. The Democratic mayor of Little Rock also warned Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Tuesday that “any piece of legislation that is so divisive cannot possibly be good for the state of Arkansas and its people.”
Thus far Hutchinson seems unmoved, either by the warnings from some of his state's largest employers or from the Indiana trainwreck
. He has pledged to sign the bill
, saying "Arkansas is open for business, and we recognize and respect the diversity of our culture and economy."