On its “Walmart Newsroom” Twitter feed, the world’s largest private employer has released an official statement calling on Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto HB 1228, the “religious protection” bill just granted final passage by the House that would potentially encourage discrimination against LGBT people in Arkansas.
CEO Doug McMillon has attached his name to the statement:
This is important. Walmart has spoken out against HB 1228 in the past, but there’s a difference between expressing displeasure with a bill and actually asking the governor to draw such a firm line in the sand. The company wields tremendous power in Arkansas, especially in Northwest Arkansas. Hutchinson is from Northwest Arkansas, as are the legislators who most loudly support HB 1228, such as Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs).
Walmart’s statement clearly calling for a veto also stands in sharp contrast to the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, which cautiously disapproved of the bill but stopped short of asking Hutchinson to veto it.
The responses Walmart is getting on Twitter are interesting. Lots of positives, but some negatives as well, including replies from folks who seem to feel the corporate giant has betrayed them in the culture wars. A sampling: