Urgent: Religious Right-to-Discriminate Bill Heads to Senate for Vote

The "Conscience Protection Act" quietly passed the Senate Judiciary Committee late yesterday after the Committee previously voted no. As America watches Arkansas, we still believe in love and equality, not legal hate masked by religion. Now is the time to tell senators where you stand on HB 1228. The bill moves to the full Senate for a vote possibly as early as Thursday, March 26th.

After the vote yesterday, Sen. Linda Chesterfield said, "There is something very, very wrong when you allow religion to be the excuse for discrimination. That is exactly what we've allowed here to happen." Please stand with us against this anti-LGBTQ bill.

Contact info for Northwest Arkansas senators is listed below.

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Arkansas Gets a Second Chance: NWA Equality Statement on HB 1950

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – March 10, 2015 – NWA Center for Equality issued the following statement by President Chaz Allen following the filing of House Bill 1950 (HB 1950) by Representative Greg Leding of Fayetteville:

“Two anti-gay bills brought forth during this legislative session cast Arkansas in national embarrassment and threatened the hope that all Arkansans will enjoy equal rights under the law. Today, our hope is renewed, as Arkansas has a second chance toward achieving equality. With HB 1950, legislators have the opportunity to finally extend basic civil rights to every Arkansan. All it takes is adding four simple words to the Arkansas Civil Rights Act.

“We believe civil rights are not exclusive. Every Arkansan deserves the right to work; the right to buy or rent a home; and the right to do business, without fear of discrimination. For those concerned about civil rights inconsistencies among cities across the state, this bill will ensure that all Arkansans are afforded the same protections under the law.

“Rep. Greg Leding, one of our own local legislators, showed true courage and true Arkansas values by drafting HB 1950. We urge every legislator to uphold their obligation to protect the rights of all Arkansans by supporting this bill.”

“Our commitment to full equality will not waiver. We will ensure the voices of LGBTQ Arkansans are heard as debates of SB 202/Act 137 and other hurtful legislation continue.”

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NWA Center for Equality Thanks Senate Committee for Defeating HB1228

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – February 23, 2015 – NWA Center for Equality issued the following statement by its president, Chaz Allen after the Senate Judiciary Committee defeated House Bill 1228 (HB1228):

“We thank the clergy, businesses and citizens across Arkansas who came together urging legislators to oppose HB1228. At a time when Arkansas faces international criticism for the passage of a separate anti-gay bill (SB202), the defeat of HB1228 sends a clear message: we will not tolerate the use of religion to mask discrimination against LGBTQ people. This is a victory for all Arkansans who believe in love and tolerance. We are extremely grateful for the senators who voted against this bill.

“We urge Representative Ballinger to accept this vote and focus on critical needs of all Arkansans, rather than bringing HB1228 back to committee or maneuvering its way to the Senate floor. At the same time, we continue our work to educate Arkansans about SB202 before that law takes effect. That law written by Senator Hester prevents local governments from enacting nondiscrimination ordinances at a time when state law still permits legal discrimination against any Arkansan based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. “

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