Arkansas follows Indiana in passing the new Religious Freedom Bill

Arkansas follows Indiana in passing the new Religious Freedom Bill

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  • Arkansas follows Indiana’s lead into passing the new Religious Freedom Bill

Arkansas passes a religious freedom bill which is yet to be made into a law faces protest on the basis for potential for discrimination.

Arkansas’ Republican-led House gave final approval to the bill, which prohibits the state and local governments from infringing on a person’s religious beliefs without a “compelling” interest. The bill will go to the Republican Governor Asa Hutcherson who has committed to sign it into a law.

The same draft of rules has been passed into a law in Indiana already and it has already gathered protest. According to the protestors, the bill gives a potential allowance for businesses and other services to refuse services on the basis of sexual discrimination based on their religious beliefs.

They can discriminate between gays and lesbians and will have legal authority to do so under the rights of the bill. The bill has already been practiced by a baker who refused to provide a wedding cake to a gay couple.

Bills similar to Indiana’s are likely to be implemented in 19 states including Georgia. Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart was the first to ask Governor Hutcherson to veto the bill instead of passing it as a law.

McMillon said that the bill was not in the spirit of their principals. As the largest employers in the US, Walmart faces a deficit in customer care with the passing of bill which could result in a long series of legal battles.

Protestors had already gathered in Indiana against the law and the concentration shifted to Arkansas to pursue Governor Hutcherson to veto the bill. The protestors say that the right to religious freedom will allow the people to refuse services to gays and lesbians on the basis of their religious beliefs. 

Indiana GOP Governor Pence has taken an initiative to clarify the intent of passing the law. They have emphasized that the law does not allow any discrimination and it has to be fully understood before protesting against it. Lawmakers and companies have already denounced the new law. All eyes are on Governor Hutcherson to veto the bill and not turn it into a law.  


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