The Arkansas House on Tuesday gave green signal to a bill that intends at advancing the religious freedom to the people, sparking fierce protests from the opponents who claimed that the new legislation can be misused against gays which will allow discrimination against them.
The bill created a huge pandemonium in the House on Tuesday as Democrats battled hard to amend, and even kill, the proposed measure, but their all efforts were outvoted by Republicans.
The Republicans’ vote was unanimously opposed by the business leaders, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc that moved a step ahead by denouncing the bill.
Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart chief executive official, said, “Today’s passage of HB1228 threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold. For these reasons, we are asking Governor Hutchinson to veto this legislation.”
Echoing similar sentiments, several other groups including the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Little Rock Conventions and Visitors Bureau, the Arkansas Municipal League and the Association of Arkansas Counties, launched their opposition against HB1228.
The House pushed forward the legislation called HB1228, also known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, in a series of three one-sided votes. The bill has faced three Senate amendments for the agreement.
The bill is very much similar to the legislation that has raised huge uproar in Indiana.
After clearance from the House, the legislation will now head to the office of Governor Asa Hutchinson, who has earlier expressed support for it.
The legislation, which was amended in Senate last week, was passed in House by a 72-20 vote on February 13.
The bill was mostly opposed by Democrats, who were hailed by anti-HB1228 demonstrators, for a second straight day. The protesters thronged the Capitol stairs that led to the House chamber on Tuesday.