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Arkansas Gov.: No Need for LGBT Protections

Arkansas Gov.: No Need for LGBT Protections


Asa Hutchinson thinks the revised 'religious freedom' bill is enough to protect gay and transgender people.

Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson teased an executive order protecting LGBT state employees from discrimination -- as his state has zero safeguards for gay and trans residents -- but he's now backing off even that modest change, the Associated Press reports.

Hutchinson had said he was considering such an order in response to a recently passed "religious freedom" bill, which is seen by many as an open door to LGBT discrimination. Following a national uproar, the legislation was modified, but it is still potentially damaging to LGBT people, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

With the new bill in place, Hutchinson now sees no need to protect gay and trans state workers -- not to mention other Arkansans, who can be tossed from their apartments and fired from their jobs for being LGBT.

"I don't see any urgent need for it now," Hutchinson said. "Again, I got my request, so we'll see what the future develops but I considered the issue resolved when they gave me my first request of a new bill."

The Arkansas Senate passed legislation in February that bars any jurisdiction from enacting LGBT protections. The Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Colorado -- nearly two decades ago.

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