LITTLE ROCK-- Today, HRC Arkansas strongly condemned the introduction of House Bill 1879, which allows businesses and religious organizations to refuse service when the business owner or organization leader objects to a couple’s marriage. Though the bill title suggests the legislation only has to do with wedding-related services, it indeed applies to any transaction. For instance, an interracial couple could be denied service by a baker when picking up a birthday cake for their child, or an interfaith couple could be denied service at a clothing store when picking out pants for work.
“While the intended consequences of this bill are disgraceful, the unintended consequences of this appalling legislation are equally terrible. Arkansas values teach us to treat everyone with dignity and respect, but this legislation does the opposite by giving businesses and organizations a key to discriminate against a whole host of Arkansans,” said HRC Arkansas State Director Kendra R. Johnson. “We strongly urge the Arkansas House to reject this bill, and instead seek to advance legal protections to create more inclusive environments for all Arkansans.”
HRC Arkansas is working to advance equality for LGBT Arkansans who have no state or municipal level protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations. 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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