Don’t sign it, Asa

We-Reserve-with-bridgeThe Arkansas legislature has passed to Gov. Asa Hutchinson a “religious freedom” law similar to the one that has caused the uproar in Indiana and elsewhere.

Gov. Hutchinson is a 1972 graduate of Bob Jones University, the ultra-conservative institution of higher learning whose policies (and graduates) would be funny if they weren’t so very sad.

Odds are he’s going to sign it, but he should consider the efficacy of a law that codifies discrimination against any group of people. Then, too, there’s talk that he’s seeking a compromise measure.

Oh, Arkansas. If your own problematic hometown corporation — giving credit where credit is due — is against this, who can be for it? Walmart has come out swinging as an early opponent of the law. Here‘s a statement from their CEO:

walmartUPDATE: He didn’t sign it. Rock on! And he didn’t sign it — at least in part — because of conversations with his son, Seth, a Texas union organizer. Glory!

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  1. Again…a key definition conveniently avoided in coverage of a State RFRA:

    “Exercise of religion” means the practice or observance of religion including without limitation the ability to act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by a person’s sincerely held religious beliefs, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief
    Arkansas HB 1228 (emphasis added)

    Any “compromise” is meaningless without amending that definition.

  2. CNN update: It appears Asa is sending the law back with instructions for changes.

    “We wanted to have it crafted similar to what is at the federal level,” Hutchinson said. “To do that, though, changes need to be made. The bill that is on my desk at the present time does not precisely mirror the federal law.”

    This might not, as I’ve just discovered, result in a change to the definition of “exercise of religion” found in the Arkansas bill, which appears to be more consistent with the RFRA definition than the Indiana RFRA.

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