Legislator Considers Proposing Changes To ‘Religious Freedom’ Law, Bayou Buzz

A state legislator who opposed the Arkansas Religious Freedom Restoration Act said Friday he is considering proposing changes to the law that would provide protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The law, approved during this year’s regular legislative session, prohibits any action by the state that substantially burdens a person’s exercise of religion unless the state has a compelling reason for doing so and it does so by the least restrictive means available.

Supporters say the law will protect religious freedom, but critics say it will protect discrimination. A similar law passed this year in Indiana includes language prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but Arkansas’ law does not.

The law’s sponsor, Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, and Rep. Clarke Tucker, D-Little Rock, who opposed it, discussed the law in a program Friday sponsored by the Political Animals Club in Little Rock. Tucker told reporters after the program he is measuring support for a possible effort to add non-discrimination language to the law.

Legislator Considers Proposing Changes To ‘Religious Freedom’ Law