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Polling Shows Black Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Religious Freedom Laws

Because of a number of different social factors black Americans as a whole statistically tend to be less supportive of marriage equality as compared to other demographics. According to the Public Religion Research Institute about 40% of black people reported being in favor of same sex marriage--the number rises to 59% when looking specifically at black Millennials.

M_penceBy that same logic, one might assume that that black people might similarly be less supportive of efforts to repeal discriminatory “Religious Freedom” laws like those recently passed in Indiana and Arkansas. One would be wrong, however. 

According to polling done by the Pew Research Center 61% of black Americans responded that they were in favor of legislation providing protections to LGBT-identified couples in danger of being refused service on religious grounds. The disparity between black support for gay marriage and LGBT protections, can be attributed to two things: religion and personal experience with structural discrimination.

Conservative religiosity undoubtedly distances portions of the black community from the LGBT community when discussing marriage. That being said, the resemblance between the ways in which the current wave of discrimination against queer people resembles historic and current efforts to disenfranchise black people is uncanny.

(h/t 538)


Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson Asks for Changes to 'Religious Liberty' Bill: FULL VIDEO

Hutchinson

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is requesting that the state legislature recall #HB1228, the "religious liberty" bill and make changes to make the bill mirror more closely the 1993 federal 'religious freedom' laws. He says he won't sign it in its current form.

Said Hutchinson: "My position is clear: I've asked them to remedy it, change current law, recall it, change language on it."

He does not have a commitment from the legislature on what action it will take.

Hutchinson also discussed the possibility of an executive order to ensure the bill does not allow discrimination.

"We want to be known as a state that does not discriminate, but understands tolerance."

"This is a bill that in ordinary times would not be controversial. these are not ordinary times," Hutchinson said, saying there is a generation gap in opinions on the issue, adding that his son told him to veto the bill.

"My son Seth, signed the petition asking me, Dad, the governor, to veto this bill."

Watch the full press conference, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson Asks for Changes to 'Religious Liberty' Bill: FULL VIDEO" »


Little Rock Nine Members Stand Against Arkansas HB1228 'Religious Liberty' Bill

In a symbolic move, two members of the Little Rock Nine — Carlotta Walls Lanier and Ernie Green have voiced their opposition to Arkansas’ H.B. 1228, the new Indiana-style  bill that will open the door for discrimination against minorities of all kinds in the state of Arkansas.

MarkansasOn Tuesday, the Arkansas state assembly passed H.B. 1228. Like Indiana's law, the bill would allow for allow discrimination against LGBT people, people of color, religious minorities, other minority groups, and women in the name of "religious liberty."

Despite voicing doubts about such a bill in the past, Arkansas' Republican governor Asa Hutchinson has said he will sign the bill, despite opposition from Walmart, Apple, and the Arkansas Municipal League, and others.

During the civil rights movement, Walls Lanier, Green and seven other students African-American students  — the Little Rock Nine — integrated Little Rock’s Central High School.

LittlerocknineSaid Green and Walls in a statement:

'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,' Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told us, and those words are as true today as they were half a century ago. In our home state of Arkansas, legislators are attempting to enshrine their own hatred into law…Once again, opponents of equality are giving credence to those who would refuse to serve their own neighbors under the guise of 'religious liberty,' telling us that our freedom of religion, cemented into law by the Constitution and by state law, is under attack. But we stand with our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters, as well as religious minorities and others who could fall victim to discrimination under HB 1228, and we stand against this dangerous and derogatory legislation in its current form. This bill must be amended to protect civil rights or abandoned entirely.

[Via HRC]


Arkansas Passes Indiana-Style 'Religious Liberty' Bill That Opens Door to Discrimination

The Arkansas House has passed HB1228, a "religious liberty" bill sent to them by the Senate that would allow discrimination against LGBT people, people of color, religious minorities, women and other minority groups across the state according to HRC.

HutchinsonThe NYT reports:

The bill, passed when the General Assembly concurred on three amendments from the State Senate, now goes to the state’s Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, who expressed reservations about an earlier bill but more recently said he would sign the measure if it “reaches my desk in similar form as to what has been passed in 20 other states.” The Arkansas Senate passed the measure last week.

While there were several attempts up until the last minute to add a clause to the bill that would explicitly bar discrimination of gays and lesbians, a measure that Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana pledged to add in a news conferenceon on Tuesday, the sponsors of the bill in the General Assembly rejected such moves.

Hutchinson has said he will sign the bill despite opposition from Walmart, Apple, and the Arkansas Municipal League, among others.

Said Julian Bond last week:

"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."


Arkansas Senate Passes Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Bill, Governor Asa Hutchinson Says He'll Sign

An Indiana-style bill allowing individuals to discriminate based on religious beliefs has just passed the Arkansas Senate. Arkansas Online reports the bill first heads back to the House to consider amendments added on the Senate side before heading to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk.

Hutchinson said Thursday he intends to sign the bill. 

HRC reacts via statement:

HutchinsonToday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and HRC Arkansas condemned the Arkansas senate's passage of H.B. 1228, an Indiana-style bill that will open the door to discrimination against LGBT people, people of color, religious minorities, women and other minority groups across the state. After a formal procedural hurdle, the bill will be on its way to Governor Asa Hutchinson's desk. HRC has repeatedly called on the governor to veto this legislation, including at a press conference featuring HRC president Chad Griffin yesterday.

"This bill is a poison pill for jobs and investment in the state of Arkansas, and Governor Hutchinson has a duty to veto it," said HRC President and Arkansas native Chad Griffin following the Senate vote. "If he does not, his reputation will be forever stained and the people of the state of Arkansas will suffer for his willingness to cater to a small political faction whose sole intent is to discriminate against their fellow Arkansans."

The bill has been opposed by Wal-Mart, Apple, and the Arkansas Municipal League for weeks. Yesterday, following the enactment of a similar bill in Indiana, a wave of high-tech companies like Yelp and Salesforce -- precisely the kinds of investment Governor Hutchinson has said he hopes to attract to the state -- have condemned this kind of legislation.

At a press conference today in Little Rock today, HRC President and Arkansas native Chad Griffin announced that the...

Posted by HRC Arkansas on Thursday, March 26, 2015

Jon Stewart ripped into the bill in a segment last week. Civil rights legend Julian Bond has also spoken out against the bill, saying:

"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."

Hutchinson's office can be reached at 501-682-2345. 

Senate passes HB1228 and the amendment goes back to the House for final approval. This bill is on a fast track to the...

Posted by HRC Arkansas on Friday, March 27, 2015

 


Yelp's Open Letter Warning to States Considering Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Bills Is Must Read

StoppelmanWhile the list of corporations, politicians and celebrities boycotting Indiana grows, the CEO of Yelp is taking preemptive action to ensure other states understand the economic consequences of choosing to move forward with discriminatory "religious liberty" bills.

In an open letter penned on the Yelp official blog, CEO Jeremy Stoppelman warns that his company "will make every effort to expand its corporate presence only in states that do not have these laws allowing for discrimination on the books."

Stoppelman writes:

A little over one year ago I wrote an open letter to then-Arizona Governor Jan Brewer requesting that she veto SB 1062, a bill that would have allowed businesses in the state to discriminate against consumers. Thankfully she did the right thing and vetoed that legislation, thus maintaining Arizona’s status as a hospitable place for Yelp’s employees to live and for our company to do business.

Since that time, however, legislators in other states have sought to pass, or have enacted, laws that would allow for businesses to discriminate against consumers based on certain traits including sexual orientation. While Indiana is the most recent state to enact a law allowing for this kind of discrimination by businesses, unfortunately measures are being debated in other states across the country that would follow Indiana’s example. These laws set a terrible precedent that will likely harm the broader economic health of the states where they have been adopted, the businesses currently operating in those states and, most importantly, the consumers who could be victimized under these laws.

Just as I said in my letter to Governor Brewer, it is unconscionable to imagine that Yelp would create, maintain, or expand a significant business presence in any state that encouraged discrimination by businesses against our employees, or consumers at large. I encourage states that are considering passing laws like the one rejected by Arizona or adopted by Indiana to reconsider and abandon these discriminatory actions. (We’re looking at you, Arkansas.)

I hope that in the future the legislatures in the nineteen states that have these laws on the books will reconsider their actions. In the mean time, Yelp will make every effort to expand its corporate presence only in states that do not have these laws allowing for discrimination on the books.

I also hope that other companies will draw a similar line in the sand for equality on behalf of their employees and the greater public to persuade legislators to do the right thing and stop or rescind these harmful laws.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Stoppelman

CEO, Yelp

In related news, civil rights leader and former NAACP chairman Julian Bond has released a statement blasting Arkansas's proposed bill, saying:

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."

Earlier today, we told you about the campaign to prevent a similar "license to discriminate" bill from becoming law in Georgia.  


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