Arkansas governor urges changes to religious objection bill
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is calling for changes to a religious objection measure facing a backlash from businesses and gay rights groups, saying it wasn't intended to allow discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The Republican governor on Wednesday said he wants changes to a bill lawmakers sent him prohibiting state and local government from infringing upon someone's religious beliefs without a compelling interest. Hutchinson said he wants the Legislature to either recall the bill or pass a follow-up measure to make the proposal more closely mirror a 1993 federal religious freedom law.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence called for similar changes to be sent to him after he also faced backlash from the same law in his state. He asked legislators to send a bill to his desk which would specifically bar businesses from discriminating against people.
The legislation in Indiana drew criticism from advocacy groups, celebrities, and large corporations. NASCAR and the NCAA said in statements they were concerned about the effects the law would have on their athletes, drivers and fans. Walmart urged Hutchinson to veto the legislation over the same concerns.