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Arkansas governor enters fray over controversial US religious freedom bill

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Arkansas governor enters fray over controversial US religious freedom bill


Within hours of Arkansas lawmakers passing a controversial religion bill, the US state’s governor has pulled his support and is calling for it to be re-written.

Opponents of the bill which is officially called the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA) say the legislation could be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Governor’s son calls on Dad to veto bill


Governor Asa Hutchinson who said his own son had asked him to veto the bill has refused to sign it effectively blocking the legislation.

“This is both about substance , which is getting this legislation right, and it’s about communicating to the world and to our neighbouring states that we’re a state that recognises diversity in the workforce, the need for nondiscrimination and that we want to accomplish that,” he said.

Protests began earlier in the week in the state of Indiana where the governor there has also sent the bill back to the Republican-led legislature to be re-written. It is claimed the bill gives businesses a defence against providing services for homosexuals “if it’s against their religious beliefs”.

The issue has drawn criticism from the likes of Apple CEO Tim Cook, celebrities and Arkansas-based Wal-Mart stores, the world’s biggest retailer.

Although supporters argue the courts will ensure a balance is struck, the bill is to be changed and could be ready on Thursday.

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