Arkansas GOP working on new anti-gay marriage religious protections

As of yet, Arkansas' civil rights law doesn't include sexual orientation or gender identity.

As of yet, Arkansas' civil rights law doesn't include sexual orientation or gender identity.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas state Senate Republicans are working on legislation to reinforce protections for religious organizations in response to last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

The caucus released a statement Thursday signed by all 24 Republican senators, saying it planned to draft legislation to address any unforeseen consequences of the ruling on the religious community.

Republican Sen. Eddie Joe Williams of Cabot said the caucus wants legislation ready in case Gov. Asa Hutchinson calls another special session.

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Hutchinson issued a statement late Thursday saying he didn’t see the need for legislation to protect religious groups because the ruling only applies government entities.

House Republicans issued a similar statement Tuesday afternoon, affirming the caucus’ desire to protect religious groups and calling the high court’s decision “mistaken and dangerous.”

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