I’m flummoxed by Arkansas. I mean, were their TV sets turned off for the last week or so? Did they not get a newspaper even once? Is their internet down? Have they never heard of Indiana?
How else do we explain how the Arkansas legislature has just passed a ‘Religious Freedom restoration Act’ [RFRA] that is nearly identical to the one passed last week in Indiana; the one that sparked protests, petition drives, and may well end Mike Pence’s political career forever?
Mike Pence. I giggle at his foolishness. He signs hate into law, then says maybe it needs clarification then says he won’t change the law, while saying Hoosiers don’t discriminate, and now, after costing the state millions and millions of dollars and making him the well-deserved butt of all jokes, as well as the poster boy for LGBT discrimination, he’s saying maybe the bill needs to be fixed, and maybe the discrimination parts need to be removed.
But then we have Arkansas …where Republican lawmakers, of course, passed HB 1228, a bill that the Human Rights Campaign describes as "virtually identical" to the controversial law in Indiana.
And, like Indiana, Arkansas Republican, of course, Governor, Asa Hutchinson, has promised to sign it. Hutchinson, with an apparent straight face — pun intended — says the bill is meant to strike a balance between religious freedom and equal protection of the law, but, um, yeah, sexual orientation is not covered by anti-discrimination laws in Arkansas, so the hate is legal.
Cue protests; cue boycotts; cue the end of a political career.
Apple, Yelp and Little Rock-based Acxiom have all called on Hutchinson to veto the bill, and Wal-Mart has also come out against the bill, and urged the governor to veto it:
"Today's passage of HB1228 threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold." — Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon
In addition, the governors of New York, Connecticut and Washington have suspended some government travel from their states to Indiana, and are expected to do the same with Arkansas.
“They knew what they were doing. They were going to make it legal to refuse to serve gay men and women. Somebody has to call them on it." — Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy
Special ISBL Asshat status to Arkansas state Representative, and Republican of course, Bob Ballinger who authored the bill and said its language was staying put, and that it would be too confusing to try to define what constitutes discrimination."
"If that means that you can force somebody who has deeply held religious beliefs to engage in some activity that violates their deeply held religious beliefs, and that the state has the right to force them into doing it, I can't say that I do agree with that."
But you can say that denying someone services because they’re gay or a woman or a minorities is just dandy.
Pardon my French, but Fuck off. Hate is hate, no matter how you try to hide it with a Bible, and no matter how you try to spin it, no one’s God ever spoke up about hate.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson — hoping he doesn’t get penced … yes, it’s a verb now, too — has asked the Arkansas legislature to make changes to the state’s "religious freedom" bill, HB 1228, to make it more like the Federal version, and less like the Indiana’s Hate Version.
As it stands, the Arkansas RFRA still becomes law in seven days unless Hutchinson vetoes it, which he did not do today.