Little Rock-- Today, HRC Arkansas calls on Governor Asa Hutchinson to exercise his executive powers and veto Senate Bill 202 (SB202), which would prohibit municipalities from enacting nondiscrimination ordinances that protect LGBT people. Anti-LGBT Arkansas State Senator Bart Hester is sponsor of SB202, the “Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act”. If SB202 takes effect, Arkansas cities will lose their ability to recruit top talent, compete for quality jobs and welcome many Fortune 500 companies—who support LGBT equality-- to their region.
“The Governor has the power to tell the nation that Arkansas welcomes all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, “said HRC Arkansas State Director Kendra R. Johnson. “Senate Bill 202 destroys local control and denies municipal governments the ability to pass civil rights protections for people in their cities.”
HRC Arkansas has been advocating against this discriminatory piece of legislation since the day it was introduced. Recognizing that the bill is motivated by anti-LGBT animus, and would have the effect of preventing non-discrimination protections from being passed on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, HRC Arkansas quickly activated a plan to fight the bill:
“Discrimination is not an Arkansas value, and the Governor should take swift, immediate action to veto SB202,” said Johnson. “Governor Hutchinson has said he will not sign the bill and will allow it to become law. That is an indication that even he has pause for concern on this anti-LGBT bill.”
HRC Arkansas is working to advance equality for LGBT Arkansans who have no state or municipal level protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations; legal state recognition for their relationships and families; and state protections from hate crimes. Through HRC Arkansas, we are working toward a future of fairness every day—changing hearts, minds and laws toward achieving full equality.
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