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Arkansas Gov. Signs Revised Religious Freedom Bill

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a religious freedom bill after lawmakers adjusted it to mirror federal legislation.
Posted at 6:35 PM, Apr 02, 2015

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a religious freedom bill into law Thursday after lawmakers adjusted the controversial legislation. 

"The issue has become divisive because our nation remains split on how to balance the diversity of our culture with the tradition of our firmly held religious convictions," Hutchinson said.

On Wednesday, Hutchinson said he wouldn't sign the bill the legislature passed and requested lawmakers make changes.

The legislation sparked protests at Arkansas's capital over concerns it could be used to discriminate against the LGBT community.

The revised language says the law should be interpreted the same way as the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, which is the basis for the religious freedom laws in 20 other states.

By signing the revised bill, Hutchinson dodged the type of criticism hurled at Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who signed his state's religious freedom bill last week.

After protestsand threats from businesses to leave the state, Indiana lawmakers announced they would make changes to the law to protect civil liberties.

In Arkansas, Wal-Mart was a loud opponent of the bill. The company, which has its headquarters in the state, reportedly asked Hutchinson to veto the original measure. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.