Arkansas moved closer to becoming the next state to adopt an anti-LGBT "license to discriminate" law today.
Passed by a vote of 24-7 in the state Senate, the legislation would block state and local government from taking any action that substantially burdens someone’s religious beliefs unless a “compelling” interest is proven.
The bill has already been passed in the state House, but returns there for another vote due to minor changes.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has already indicated he plans on signing the bill into law.
Opponents say the mean-spirited legislation is a thinly-veiled effort to endorse bias against LGBT folks.
Civil rights leader Dr. Julian Bond issued this statement: "H.B. 1228 in Arkansas opens the door to a hateful past that some had thought this country had left behind. This legislation cloaks discrimination in the guise of religion--and it will mark people of color, LGBT Arkansans, religious minorities and women as second class citizens. Governor Hutchinson has a duty and a moral obligation to veto this legislation or the ghosts of the past will haunt his legacy."
And Apple CEO Tim Cook offered this via Twitter:
Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana's new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar #HB1228.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 27, 2015
Around the world, we strive to treat every customer the same — regardless of where they come from, how they worship or who they love.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 27, 2015