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Yesterday, even as controversy continued to mount about a new Indiana law guaranteeing religious freedom, which critics say also could institutionalize discrimination against the LGBT community, the Arkansas legislature passed a similar version of the bill and sent it to Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson.

Hutchinson has said that while he has reservations about the bill, he plans to sign the legislation ... but now he has to factor into his thinking opposition by Walmart, his state's dominant corporate citizen. CEO Doug McMillon said yesterday that he believes Hutchinson should veto the bill, saying it is at odds with his company's values and the state's spirit of inclusion.

In Indiana, Republican Governor Mike Pence has said that he is open to modifying the law, the New York Times writes this morning, "but he has not indicated how he could do so without undermining it. He rejected claims that it would allow private businesses to deny service to gay men and lesbians and said the criticism was based on a 'perception problem' that additional legislation could fix."

The Times goes on: "The bill in Arkansas is similar to the Indiana law, with both diverging in certain respects from the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That act was passed in 1993 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, Arkansas’s most famous political son.

"But the political context has changed widely since then. The law was spurred by an effort to protect Native Americans in danger of losing their jobs because of religious ceremonies that involved an illegal drug, peyote. Now the backdrop is often perceived to be the cultural division over same-sex marriage.

"Both states’ laws allow for larger corporations, if they are substantially owned by members with strong religious convictions, to claim that a ruling or mandate violates their religious faith, something reserved for individuals or family businesses in other versions of the law. Both allow religious parties to go to court to head off a 'likely' state action that they fear will impinge on their beliefs, even if it has not yet happened."
KC's View:


Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words ... as in the case of this picture of a t-shirt created by an Indianapolis florist. Thanks to the MNB user who passed it along.

"Your Views" is entirely devoted to discussion of this issue. I'll save my POV for then...