Even as national outrage over Indiana’s new right-to-discriminate law continues to escalate, yet another GOP-controlled statehouse has passed a so-called “religious freedom restoration act.” Meanwhile, a red-faced Indiana legislature scrambles to “clarify” its shameful new law.
Despite some Arkansas lawmakers’ best efforts to include specific anti-discrimination language to House Bill 1228, the state legislature gave final approval to the measure. The bill’s Republican sponsor refused the change, despite his earlier insistence that the legislation was not meant to allow discrimination.
The Arkansas right-to-discriminate bill is substantively the same as Indiana’s despicable new law. The broad language in both measures potentially grants businesses and private citizens license to discriminate against gays and lesbians by using religious prejudices as a shield.
Now that they’ve been thoroughly embarrassed by the outrage – both national and local – over the law, Indiana legislators will seek to “clarify” it before their session ends at the end of the month. They should spend their remaining weeks of session repealing the measure instead of attempting to tweak something so fundamentally and deeply flawed.
Will Arkansas similarly seek to retcon their new right-to-discriminate law after the backlash spreads southward?
And which state will pass the next one?