Twitter and other social media are busy this snow day with people urging Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto SB 202, which strips local government of the power to pass civil rights ordinances. The bill is intended to preserve legal discrimination against LGBT people.
Hutchinson said Friday that, while he was bothered by the bill’s removal of local control, he would not veto the legislation. It will become law without his signature and take effect in late summer. Unless he changes his mind.
I doubt a social media campaign to get him to change his mind will succeed. But then again, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed similar anti-gay legislation in Arizona after a business outcry. It’s not only unfair, it’s bad for business, she realized. SB 202 isn’t the only anti-gay bill heading to Hutchinson’s desk. The Senate also will vote soon, and likely pass, another so-called conscience protection bill that also is intended to justify discrimination against gay people.
Brandon Brock has put together this website to provide information on the issue and rally support.
Does Arkansas want to send a message to the world that it is worse than Arizona when it comes to insisting on the “right” to discriminate against gay people?
I’m reminded again of Grant Tennille, the former director of the Arkansas Economic Development Department, who said it was harmful to the state to brand itself as a place that believes in legal discrimination. Especially given that history has already schooled people to believe that about Arkansas in the first place. He drew fire for speaking bluntly on a tough issue. Hutchinson should heed his words.
Whatever you do, don’t speak ill of Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy. Those are concepts held as dear as oppressing gay people in Arkansas.