Thank goodness. Sen. Jason Rapert arrives with a blast against Gov. Asa Hutchinson for supporting the rule of law, particularly his notion that people elected and paid by taxpayers to provide public services should provide those public services even to people they despise. (county clerks/ same-sex couples)
Yesterday evening, Hutchinson indicated reluctance — and the emptiness and futility — to endorse still more law-making by a legislature that has already done much, with the governor’s support, to provide ways for people to discriminate against gay people in the name of religion.
For failing to join the legislative Republican demagogues in the Faubusian reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Hutchinson drew this tirade from Rapert, in a letter to other senators:
Subject: Re: Same Sex
I have just read Governor Hutchinson’s response to the GOP House & Senate Caucus today which included this interesting statement.
“I will continue to determine what legislative action is needed to address the myriad of legal issues that will result from the ruling and also what legislation is needed to protect the churches, pastors and religious institutions who cannot follow the dictates of the Court.”
I want to be on record with my fellow senators that I am grieved by the arrogance of the statement above. The Governor of this state does not “determine” unilaterally what legislative action the state takes. Only Senators and Representatives in the legislative branch file bills in our state. It appears we have a misunderstanding with the separation of powers in Arkansas as well.
I mean no disrespect but I am going to speak the truth as best I can. I am disappointed that he has positioned himself in opposition to the GOP majority in the legislature and the voters in our state. County Clerk’s have 1st Amendment Rights – not just pastors – we all have those rights. The best Constiutional law experts in the nation have advised me personally that Clerks have a 1st amendment defense as religious conscientious objectors. I have done all I can do to help Asa on issues. He may not want to personally be dealing with social issues – but the entire nation is and he is our governor and should be proud to defend the will of the people of Arkansas.
My commitment to fight for the values I committed to when running for office does not end with the illegal decision of 5 black robed attorneys that shredded the 1st Amendment, trampled the 10th Amendment, violated the separation of powers and ruled without out any support from the U.S. Constitution. stances on social issues. Even the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court declared the ruling had no basis in the Constitution and Justice Scalia said the decision is a “threat to American democracy”.
This is a great disappointment to me after he pledged to sign the RFRA bill during the session and then reneged at the last moment and put us all through chaos.
I have raised and spent around $800k in four years running for and defending my seat in the Arkansas Senate. I ran against candidates weak on core social issues and I will not abide by my own party selling out the pastors, Christians and other real conservatives that I asked to vote for GOP members including Asa Hutchinson.
Sen. Hendren and Sen. Hutchinson, I apologize for the blunt honesty of this message and do not mean disrespect to your uncle. You both have been my friend, you are our colleagues and you are Senators. The statement today is offensive to more than just me. Our Senate is not an extension of the executive branch. Team players don’t roll the rest of the team under the bus like the governor’s office has done today.
I’ve been genuinely threatened by the extreme liberals for standing up for religious liberty, unborn babies and marriage between one man and one woman. I have a lot invested in honest representation of my constituents. I don’t like threats to our values from within my own party anymore than I like threats from liberal democrats.
As of today, the executive branch and governors office must rebuild my ability to trust their resolve on core issues fundamental to being an Arkansas Republican.
This has been one of the hardest messages I have ever drafted and I am saddened that it has come to this. I never dreamed the Republican governor we all worked so hard for would disrespect those of us that fought for his election the way he has today.
With deep regret,
Sen. Jason Rapert
Arkansas Senate District 35
Isn’t that special?