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Arkansas governor says he’s concerned by ‘religious freedom’ bill

Arkansas governor says he’s concerned by ‘religious freedom’ bill

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he’s concerned about possible unintended consequences of legislation that gay rights groups say would sanction discrimination by prohibiting state and local governments from imposing a “substantial burden” on someone’s religious beliefs.

Edward Stojakovic (Flickr)

The Republican governor told reporters Tuesday he had reservations about the House-backed “conscience protection” measure that’s pending before a Senate committee, but stopped short of saying whether he opposed the bill.

Hutchinson said he has questions about how the measure would be applied.

Hutchinson on Monday allowed separate legislation to go into law that bans local governments from expanding anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation or gender identity.

Opponents of the measure had urged Hutchinson to veto it after he said he was concerned about it infringing on local control.

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