Following nationwide criticism of Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a revised version of the law last week, affording clearer protections to those who identify as LGBT. In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) also approved an updated version of his state’s RFRA bill, having rejected the initial legislation after his son signed a petition asking for a veto.
Some conservatives continue to blame the “militant gay community” for stirring up unnecessary controversy around the states’ “religious freedom” laws, which in their initial form would have enabled businesses to discriminate against patrons on the basis of sexual preference and gender identity.
During an interview with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on CNN on Friday, host Michael Smerconish pointed out that it was not only the LGBT community that put pressure on states to change their RFRA legislation, but also corporations like Angie’s List, Apple and Walmart, which is headquartered in Arkansas.
“In this particular instance, it wasn’t the LGBT community that I think caused the reversal in both Arkansas and Indiana, but rather business interests, traditionally Republican-supporting business interests,” Smerconish said.
Huckabee, however, maintained that companies were coerced into opposing the legislation.
“The reason that those corporations put the pressure on Indiana and Arkansas was because the militant gay community put the pressure on them,” Huckabee responded.
He also called Walmart and Apple “hypocritical” for criticizing the law and then continuing to do business in countries like China and Saudi Arabia where human rights violations are more prevalent.
“For anybody to try to draw some comparison between what’s happening by not getting a wedding cake made and people having their hands cut off or being hanged or imprisoned, I find that a stretch,” he said. “I think these corporations really ought to be consistent. Quit making money from these countries that are really oppressing human rights, quit bowing to the pressure, and just sell their stuff.”
“That’s what they’re in business for — sell stuff,” he continued. “Quit trying to make political decisions.”