Republican Arkansas Governor Asa
Hutchinson asked lawmakers for changes to a so-called religious
freedom bill approved by lawmakers on Tuesday.
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. Critics argue that the bill could open the door to
discrimination against gay men and lesbians.
House approves “religious freedom” bill.)
Hutchinson has previously said that he
would sign the bill. But that was before passage of a similar
measure in Indiana attracted nationwide attention, forcing
Republican Governor Mike Pence to ask for a “fix,” and
Arkansas-based Walmart, the world's largest retailer, weighed in
against the bill.
asks Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto anti-gay bill.)
“I've asked them to recall it and
change the language,” Hutchinson
told reporters on Wednesday.
He said he wants the proposed
legislation to more closely mirror a federal version approved in 1993
that does not define a person to include a company or association.