Business Community Piles On Against Arkansas Religious Freedom Bill

Mar 31, 2015

HB 1228 bill sponsor, Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville) after the committee vote.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas House is poised Tuesday afternoon to vote on a nationally watched bill that proponents say advances "religious freedom" and opponents deride as sanctioning discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. 

The decision on the House floor comes in the wake of Indiana enacting a similar law. In Arkansas, as in Indiana, a number of the world's largest corporations have or are threatening to boycott the states. 

Several more announcements were made Tuesday from industry leaders.

NASCAR

NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana. We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race.

Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce:

As the principal business organization responsible for fostering the economic growth and development of the Little Rock Region, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce supports an open and fair workplace and equitable business environment for all.  While we believe that HB 1228 seeks to protect the religious freedoms of all Arkansans, it can be interpreted to provide religious protection for Arkansans who choose to discriminate against other Arkansans.  This is bad for business and bad for Arkansas.  Unless and until this issue is clarified by amendment in HB 1228, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce is against the bill.

Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson has said he will sign the bill if it comes to his desk upon an affirmative House vote.