Walmart, the world's largest retailer,
has asked Republican Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to veto a bill
critics say would open the door to discrimination against members of
the LGBT community.
The measure, HB 1228, seeks to prohibit
any state and local laws that “substantially burden” a person's
ability to follow his or her religious beliefs without a “compelling”
interest. The bill defines a “person” to include a company or
The Arkansas House on Tuesday gave
final legislative approval to the bill.
House approves “religious freedom” bill.)
“Every day in our stores, we see
firsthand the benefits diversity and inclusion have on our
associates, customers and communities we serve,” Walmart CEO Doug
McMillon said in a statement. “It all starts with our core basic
belief of respect for the individual. Today’s passage of H.B. 1228
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
Walmart, which is headquartered in
Bentonville, Arkansas, employs 2.2 million people worldwide and is
the world's largest company by revenue, according to Fortune.
Hutchinson has said he will sign the
Apple CEO Tim Cook, an Arkansas native,
earlier this week called
such laws “dangerous.”