Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) just announced he will NOT sign a controversial religious liberty bill because he wants lawmakers to make changes. His own son, Seth, he said, had asked him to veto the bill. He said:
“What is important from an Arkansas standpoint is one, we get the right balance and secondly, we make sure that we communicate we’re not going to be a state that fails to recognize the diversity of our workplace, our economy and our future. This is a bill that in ordinary times would not be controversial. But these are not ordinary times.”
No they aren’t. But what he doesn’t say WHAT changes, does he? But the Indiana law and the Arkansas bill have drawn fire because unlike the federal religious freedom law and similar laws in states across the country, these new bills say that companies can have the SAME religious rights as individuals, which opponents say could (and will) be used to let businesses discriminate against gay people.
Mark Stodola, the mayor of Little Rock, sent a letter to Mr. Hutchinson this week urging him to veto the bill, saying it would have…
“a negative impact on our state’s image.”
Proponents of these laws say they are necessary to protect the rights of religious people. State Rep. Bob Ballinger:
“This legislation doesn’t allow anybody to discriminate against anybody, not here. The bill does just the opposite. It focuses on the civil rights of people believing what they want to believe, and not letting the government interfere with that.”
Right. But no one believes that for a minute. Stay tuned…