NAACP chairman emeritus and civil
rights icon Julian Bond on Thursday criticized an Arkansas bill which
opponents claim would allow businesses to refuse service to gay men
The bill, titled the Conscience
Protection Act (HB 1228), is being championed by Rep. Bob Ballinger
in the House and Senator Bart Hester in the Senate, both of whom are
The House approved the bill in February
and it cleared a Senate committee earlier this week.
Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican,
supports the measure, which would prohibit the state from burdening a
person's exercise of religion.
“H.B. 1228 in Akansas opens the door
to a hateful past that some had thought this country had left
wrote in a statement. “This legislation cloaks discrimination
in the guise of religion – and it will mark people of color, LGBT
Arkansans, religious minorities and women as second class citizens.
Governor Hutchinson has a duty and a moral obligation to veto this
legislation or the the ghosts of the past will haunt his legacy.”
On Thursday, Indiana Governor Mike
a similar bill.