HB1228 Needs to be Aligned
With Federal and Other State Laws
- HB1228 explicitly provides private, for-profit businesses with religious rights. (Only SC and IN include this language). This allows private, for-profit businesses to use a claim of religious rights as a defense for discrimination against anyone.
- HB1228 goes beyond federal and most other state law to protect beliefs that are not central to or a tenant of an established religion. Federal and most state law only protect core beliefs of an established religion. This is a major difference, again providing a broader and more vague defense for discrimination.
- HB1228 includes actions by private individuals or companies and between private companies or actors. The Federal RFRA does not. HB1228 does require state action, but state action is defined to include private, non-governmental actions. Similar language is found only in TX and IN. Nearly anyone could use HB1228 to justify discrimination against nearly anyone else under this broader and more vague language. Not only would it allow a private business to be sued by a customer claiming that stores following law are violating their beliefs, but it would also allow for private companies to sue private companies over religious differences since the bill gives the same religious rights to all.
- HB1228 needs to be amended to ensure that it cannot be used as a vehicle for discrimination.
- HB1228 needs to be amended to ensure that ALL Arkansans are treated with respect and dignity. We should enshrine in law the principle that no one should lose their job or be discriminated against because of who they are.