While Indiana is fighting for its political and economic life following the passage of its religious freedom bill, the state of Arkansas Legislature has decided to pass similar legislation. That bill is facing a veto threat from its governor, Asa Hutchinson (Republican), unless the bill undergoes serious changes. Hutchinson has had a reputation as a “reasonable” conservative by those who worked with him in Congress in Washington, DC.
The Family Reseach Council, in Washington, DC has weighed in on the controversy:
Today, the Arkansas House of Representatives by a vote of 67 to 21 gave final approval to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Family Research Council (FRC) has long supported state RFRAs, which have already been enacted in 20 states since 1996 based on the federal law signed by President Bill Clinton.
FRC President Tony Perkins released the following statement:
“Family Research Council applauds the Arkansas legislature for voting to join 20 other states in aligning themselves with federal religious freedom law. Courageously ignoring the rants of the intolerant left against this legislation, Arkansas’s Governor and legislators are standing up for the freedom of people to live out their beliefs.
“If there were not a growing hostility toward faith, there wouldn’t be a need for RFRAs. As Americans, we have a proud tradition of respecting each other’s differences. But, under the policies and influence of the Obama administration, religious intolerance has grown significantly.
“Americans of all political persuasions and all religions who care about the freedom to live according to one’s beliefs –without government coercion — should support RFRAs,” concluded Perkins.
Josh Duggar, FRC Action’s Executive Director, added the following comments:
“I applaud the 67 members of the Arkansas House of Representatives who voted today to pass H.B. 1228, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This bill is simple and to the point — that people cannot be easily trampled by the government simply for living out their religious beliefs. We are thrilled that Gov. Hutchinson has indicated that he will sign this bill affirming that religious freedom is alive and well in Arkansas.”