The Arkansas legislature has just passed a sweeping pro-discrimination bill, and is sending it to their Republican governor's desk.
On Monday the Arkansas Senate passed a sweeping bill that bans every town, city, and municipality in the state from passing or enforcing non-discrimination ordinances. The legislation just passed the House today, and now is on its way to Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson's desk, where it is expected to be signed into law.
The legislation, billed as an "emergency" bill, is being masqueraded as a commerce bill, designed to make doing business across the state easier, and more inviting to out-of-state companies.
"This bill creates uniformity for business, and citizens for that matter, that our employment laws will be the same throughout the state," GOP Rep. Bob Ballinger said today, as Buzzfeed reported. "There are some things on a statewide basis we deal with all the time, such as murder and fraud â€” a variety of things that need to be uniform."
He also, now infamously said, "I am singled out as a politician. I am singled out because I am married to one woman," he told Buzzfeed. "I want everyone in the LGBT community to have the same rights I do. I do not want them to have special rights that I do not have."
What it actually does is strike down all local ordinances that prohibit discrimination, effectively amounting to a war on the LGBT community, which already faces serious discrimination in The Natural State.
Sen. Hester, who last year spoke at an anti-gay marriage rally, had said he was "infuriated" that local cities and towns were passing legislation to protect their LGBT citizens from being discriminated against in housing, employment, and education.
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