Having witnessed the debacle currently happening in Indiana, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has declined for now to sign the state's own recently passed "Religious Freedom Restoration Act." House Bill 1228 passed on Tuesday, but Hutchinson—while being careful not to anything too supportive of LGBT people—said he won't sign it into law until he's sure it doesn't promote discrimination.
"This is a bill that in ordinary times would not be controversial," Hutchinson said at a press conference this afternoon. "But these are not ordinary times." He claimed, too, that the bill "does not pick winners and losers," but balances "two competing constitutional obligations that our founding fathers gave to us."
That said, he added, religious freedom amendments have become "divisive," adding that his own son, Seth, had signed a petition asking him to veto the bill. Hutchinson said he will ask the wording of the legislation to be changed so that it "mirrors federal law"; that is, to make sure that it doesn't legalize discriminatory business practices. The Arkansas bill, as the New York Times points out, is similar in many ways to Indiana's, and if passed, would likely lead to a similar shitstorm.
Hutchinson said, too, that he wants Arkansas "to be known as a state that does not discriminate but understands tolerance." Because we've seen how well people react to the alternative.
Image via AP