I failed to mention in the earlier post on the “religious freedom” bill debate that Gov. Asa Hutchinson has talked about some form of executive action that would send a message about a welcoming work climate in state government. He never used the dread LGBTQ words, however.
The Stonewall Democrats have suggested to Hutchinson an executive order that would add five little words that would mean a great deal. Emphasis supplied below.
WHEREAS, the State of Arkansas is dedicated to the principles of freedom and equality among all of its citizens; and
WHEREAS, the State of Arkansas employs individuals that are a vital part of creating and fostering efficient business practices and ensuring that all citizens of Arkansas receive the support and services they need and to which they are entitled; and
WHEREAS, the State of Arkansas is committed to ensuring equal opportunity in all facets of state government, and policies and employment practices which will prevent discrimination and harassment on account of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, military or veteran status, or disability status. State of Arkansas employers are expected to provide equal employment opportunity to all individuals in all aspects of employer-employee relations without discrimination, and will comply with the spirit, as well as the letter, of applicable state and federal law; and
WHEREAS, hiring and retaining diverse, highly qualified employees requires leadership support and attention to make diversity management initiatives a reality. Given that State employees make significant contributions to the State’s success, it makes good business sense to treat employees and customers with dignity and respect.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Asa Hutchinson, acting under the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Arkansas, I hereby declare that all state offices, departments and agencies under my jurisdiction shall issue such rules, regulations, orders and instructions as necessary to implement and comply with this Executive Order.
This Executive Order shall become effective upon its signing, and shall remain in full force and effect until amended or rescinded by further executive orders.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Arkansas to be affixed at the Capitol in Little Rock on the 14th day of January, in the year of our Lord 2015.