Wal-Mart wants Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto Arkansas' religious-objection law, which lawmakers approved Tuesday.
Hutchinson, a Republican, has said he will sign the bill into law. Critics say the law, similar to the one enacted by the Indiana Legislature and signed by Gov. Mike Pence, would allow for discrimination against gays and lesbians.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company says the legislation "threatens to undermine" the state's inclusive spirit and does not reflect the company's values.
"Every day in our stores, we see firsthand the benefits diversity and inclusion have on our associates, customers and communities we serve," Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillan said in a statement posted to Twitter. "It all starts with our core basic belief of respect for the individual. Today's passage of HB1228 threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold."
Others objecting to Arkansas' House Bill 1228 include the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Little Rock Conventions and Visitors Bureau, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Numerous businesses and prominent figures have also expressed concern with Indiana's religious freedom law, including the National Football League, NASCAR, National Basketball Association, Women's National Basketball Association and the NCAA, which hosts the men's Final Four at Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday.
Pence said Tuesday that he expects clarifications to the law on his desk by the end of the week. "I've come to the conclusion that it would be helpful to move legislation this week that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses the right to discriminate against anyone," he said.
Unlike the Indiana law, the Arkansas bill's sponsors rejected exemptions to the law that would have explicitly banned discrimination against gays and lesbians.
By Nick Gass
Source: The POLITICO