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


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...

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Posted by Andy Towle in Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, News | Permalink | Comments (24)

Watch LIVE: Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to Speak About 'Religious Liberty' Bill


UPDATE: Hutchinson asks for changes to bill. More HERE.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is expected to give a press conference at 10:30 AM CDT/11:30 EDT about #HB1228 the hideous "religious liberty" bill passed by the state legislature which awaits his signature.

The Arkansas bill is even worse than the Indiana one. Hutchinson has said in recent weeks that he would sign it.

Watch the live stream (news show underway), AFTER THE JUMP...

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Posted by Andy Towle | Permalink | Comments (5)


Conan Welcomes Indiana's 'Religious Freedom Czar' to Explain the State's New Law: VIDEO


Conan O'Brien welcomed Indiana's 'Religious Freedom Czar' Don Biederman (Chris Parnell) to his show last night to defend the state's anti-gay "religious liberty" bill.

"This law prevents discrimination against good, church-going folks who just want their businesses homosexual free."

Biederman also knows how to identify such homosexuals because he's done his research.


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Posted by Andy Towle in Conan O'Brien, Indiana, News | Permalink | Comments (7)

Comedy Central Defends Trevor Noah Amidst Backlash Over Offensive Jokes

Screenshot 2015-04-01 09.18.27

Comedy Central has come out in support of its Daily Show successor Trevor Noah following a wave of public criticism in response to a handful of the comedian’s resurfaced tweets. Comedy Central caught fans of its popular satirical news show off guard earlier this week when it announced that Noah, a young South African comedian, would be replacing Jon Stewart in the hosting chair later on this fall. Though Noah contributed to the show in the past, his landing the gig surprised many, but was initially met with congratulations from big-name comics like Chris Rock.

As people began to delve into Noah’s past in the hours following the announcement, the pendulum began to swing in the other direction. Noah’s been a Twitter user since 2009 and in the time since then he’s made his fair share of questionable tweets. In particular a number of his tweets making jokes about women and Jewish people have drawn public scorn, prompting many to question why Comedy Central didn’t vet him more thoroughly.

Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn't look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!

— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) September 18, 2009

South Africans know how to recycle like israel knows how to be peaceful.

— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) June 2, 2010

Noah quickly responded via Twitter, imploring people not to judge by a small selection of his tweets that--while offensive--were meant as jokes.

“Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included,” a Comedy Central representative shared in a statement. “To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.”

For all the outrage leveled at Noah for his old jokes, there were some critics who were unsurprised at the tone of his humor. Writing for the Washington Post Wendy Todd points out that the bulk of Noah’s non-Daily Show material has revolved around lampooning race to varying degrees of success. In particular, Todd notes, Noah’s known for his critical commentary about black American culture that, for some, comes across as stereotypical and hostile.

Listen to Wendy Todd’s analysis of Trevor Noah in a panel hosted by Don Lemon AFTER THE JUMP...

(h/t Mediaite)

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Posted by Charles Pulliam-Moore in Jon Stewart, News, Religion, Trevor Noah | Permalink | Comments (47)


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]

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Posted by Jake Folsom in Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, Discrimination, Human Rights Campaign, News | Permalink | Comments (12)


What's Really In Indiana's Anti-Gay 'Religious Liberty' Bill: A Legal Analysis


Governor Mike Pence of Indiana has, along with a group of apologists on the right, gone to great lengths to assure the public that his state's right-to-discriminate law is no different than the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). That is an odd position to take for several reasons.

PenceFirst, it's not true. There are obvious textual differences. Still, we have to be honest about the fact that through judicial interpretation, the federal RFRA has bloated to the point where it is nearing the explicit and astounding breadth of Indiana's version. So, maybe it's not the differences that we should be worried about.

Second, the words don't match the actions. While averring that Indiana's RFRA just copies its federal cousin, Governor Pence is also asking his state's legislature to amend the law to clarify that it is indeed no different than the federal RFRA. That begs the question: if it's already the same, why does it need to be fixed to make it the same.

And, third, it really misses the point. We shouldn't be satisfied with a state RFRA that is in fact identical to the current interpretation of the federal RFRA because we shouldn't be satisfied with the current interpretation of the federal RFRA. That people started to notice the problem when Indiana made its bigotry explicit is, in a sense, a silver lining. But the wolf has been hiding in sheep's clothing for some time.

So what's really in Indiana's right-to-discriminate law? That's what this column is about. But we will also see that it isn't so much the textual differences as much as the timing and boldness of Indiana's bigotry. Make no mistake: this law is about us, and it is about allowing individuals to discriminate against us on the pretextual and undemocratic basis of their personal religious beliefs. The law is animated by animus toward gays, dolled up in the language of religious freedom. And that's what makes it so dangerous.


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Posted by Ari Ezra Waldman in Ari Ezra Waldman, Indiana, Law - Gay, LGBT, Mike Pence, News, Religion, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (18)

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