Arkansas About To Face Same National Outrage As Indiana If Governor Signs New Anti-Gay Bill

 
 

No gays allowed? 
Lawmakers in Arkansas Friday afternoon ignored political reality and passed an anti-gay "religious freedom" bill similar to one signed into law in Indiana. Are they aware of what's to come?

Conservative Republican lawmakers across the country recently have been raiding the anti-gay tool chest, borrowing animus-inspired legislation designed to attack the LGBT community under the cloak of "religious freedom." From state laws nullifying city and town non-discrimination ordinances to religious freedom restoration acts, these bills all accomplish the same goal: telling the LGBT community, other minorities, and their families and allies that they are all unwelcome and unworthy.

Lawmakers are loving these bills because they accomplish the goal of legalizing anti-gay discrimination without actually stating it. It's a kinder, gentler hate, all wrapped up in cries of "religious freedom!" and "liberty!"

Need proof? Just yesterday lawmakers in Georgia voted down a bill extremely similar to the one Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law earlier that day. Not, mind you, because it was clearly discriminatory, but because a few smart lawmakers, lead by a Republican no less, were able to attach an amendment stating the legislation was not to be used to support discrimination. Who led the charge to kill the bill? The same lawmaker who authored it.

Meanwhile, it seems the nation is abuzz today about the anti-LGBT hijinks in The Hoosier State, thanks to Gov. Pence signing the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law Thursday morning.

As of now, Apple CEO Tim Cook, the White House, Broadway's Audra McDonald, $4 billion software firm Salesforce, $50 million annual gaming convention Gen Con, Fortune 500 member Cummins, Eskenazi Health, Eli Lilly and Co., Yelp, Hillary Clinton, George Takei, Pat McAfee, Jason Collins, Ashton Kutcher, Miley Cyrus, James Van Der Beek, Sophia Bush, Dustin Lance Black, Mara Wilson, Jack Antonoff, the mayor of Indianapolis, and the State of Indiana's own tourism board, among many others have all offered strong criticism of Indiana's new anti-gay "religious freedom" law.

The nation is so outraged that #BoycottIndiana has been trending on Twitter most of the day.

Arkansas lawmakers apparently are unaware of any of this.

Earlier this afternoon, the Arkansas Senate passed HB 1228, a religious freedom restoration act very similar to the one causing such an uproar in Indiana. 

Since the Arkansas House already passed a version of HB 1228, all that remains is for the two bodies to reconcile the legislation, and send it to conservative Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson to sign. 

You might remember last month Gov. Hutchinson was presented with a bill nullifying all city and town non-discrimination laws. While he was opposed to it, he refused to sign or veto it, allowing it to automatically pass into law. 

Will Governor Hutchison find the courage to do what's right and veto HB 1228, or will Arkansas keep its well-earned reputation as one of the most intolerant and anti-gay states in the nation – and suffer the tremendous emotional and economic impact Indiana is now faced with?

 

Image ©2015 by The New Civil Rights Movement