American Civil Rights Leader Dr. Julian Bond Expresses Outrage at Anti-LGBT Legislation in Arkansas

Bond speaks out following HRC news conference in Little Rock

WASHINGTON – Today, Dr. Julian Bond, a major leader in the American civil rights movement, expressed outrage at discriminatory anti-LGBT legislation in Arkansas -- H.B. 1228 -- that if passed into law will allow individuals to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against LGBT people and other minorities.

Dr. Bond released the following statement: "H.B. 1228 in Arkansas opens the door to a hateful past that some had thought this country had left behind. 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 ghosts of the past will haunt his legacy."

Public opposition to the bill continues to grow, including by Apple, Wal-Mart, the Arkansas Municipal League, and countless fair-minded Arkansans opposed because of its likelihood of harming Arkansas’ LGBT community, religious minorities, and the business climate in the state.

Earlier today, HRC President Chad Griffin held a press conference in Little Rock condemning the bill, and urged the Arkansas state senate not to pass it, and if it should do, for Governor Hutchinson to veto it.

H.B. 1228 would empower individuals to pick and choose which laws they want to follow and allow an individual to sue government actors, including teachers, firefighters and police officers, if that individual believes their religious rights were being violated by a government action. For instance, a teacher who puts an anti-bullying policy into practice could be at risk of being sued, or a police officer could sue their precinct because patrolling a synagogue violated their religious beliefs. The bill has seen significant opposition from the business community.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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