Official Press Release on Religious Freedom Bills

PRESS RELEASE: Family Council Supports Religious Freedom Restoration Acts

Thursday, April 2, 2015

On Thursday Family Council announced support for Arkansas House Bill 1228 and Senate Bill 975, two bills called “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement, saying, “We are still urging Governor Hutchinson to sign House Bill 1228, the original religious freedom law passed by more than two-thirds of both the Arkansas House and Arkansas Senate. If the Arkansas General Assembly passes Senate Bill 975, most of what we were trying to accomplish will have been done. The original religious freedom bill, H.B. 1228, was the Rolls Royce of religious freedom laws. S.B. 975, the replacement bill, is a Cadillac.”

Cox said that while H.B. 1228 is more clearly written, both bills have similar effects supporting religious liberty. “House Bill 1228, which was sent to the Governor first, spells out its definitions and effects very clearly. Senate Bill 975 relies on court rulings for many of its definitions. But many of House Bill 1228’s definitions were taken from court rulings, so in the end, I think both bills will help protect religious liberty.”

Cox called the controversy surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts unfounded. “The federal government passed the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993. At least twenty states have passed state laws to this effect since then. Many more protect religious liberty through court rulings. The sky hasn’t fallen in Kansas or Virginia because of their state religious freedom laws. It isn’t going to fall in Arkansas, either.”

Cox said a Religious Freedom Restoration Act is necessary to protect Arkansans of faith from government infringement. “These laws simply guarantee all Arkansans enjoy equal protection from the government infringing their free exercise of religion. If the government tries to force you to act against your deeply-held convictions, these laws help guarantee your day in court to defend yourself for obeying your religious beliefs. That’s something all Americans ought to be able to support.”


Legislators Pass Bill Authorizing 10 Commandments Monument

Yesterday the Arkansas House of Representatives passed S.B. 939, by Senator Jason Rapert, directing the Arkansas Secretary of State to work with a private group to place a monument of the Ten Commandments on the Arkansas Capitol Grounds.

The bill is rooted in a court ruling that determined a similar display was constitutional. The bill passed the House with 72 representatives voting for it; 7 representatives voting against it; 20 representatives not voting; and one representative voting “Present.” You can see how your representative voted here.

The bill has been sent to Governor Hutchinson to be signed into law.

Please Ask Governor Hutchinson to Sign HB1228

The Arkansas House of Representatives has voted to send H.B. 1228, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, to Governor Hutchinson to be signed into law.

This good bill affirms and upholds religious liberty in Arkansas. It is modeled after legislation in at least 20 other states and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed by President Clinton in 1993.

All told, Arkansas is one of only 11 states with no law or court ruling on the books spelling out protections for religious liberty.

Please call Governor Asa Hutchinson’s office right away, and ask him to sign H.B. 1228 into law. This is a good bill that prevents the state from infringing religious liberty in Arkansas.

You can leave a message for Governor Hutchinson at (501) 682-2345.

You can send Governor Hutchinson a tweet at @AsaHutchinson.