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Walmart commends Arkansas governor for reconsidering controversial religious bill


New York – Walmart on Wednesday sent out a tweet in which it commended Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson and legislative leaders for reconsidering a law that some people and organizations fear would open the door to discrimination against gays and lesbians. The “religious freedom” measure (HB1228) in Arkansas is similar to the one that has kicked up a firestorm in Indiana. Earlier in the day on Wednesday, Gov, Hutchinson said he wouldn’t sign the bill in its present form and called for changes to be made.

“We clearly support the importance of religious freedom and encourage the legislature to make certain any legislation does not encourage discrimination,” Walmart said.

The move was the latest missive in the controversy that has pitted the retailing giant against state leaders. On Tuesday, Arkansas native and Walmart president CEO Doug McMillon took an unusually firm stance against the bill, which Gov. Hutchinson had indicated he would sign.

“Today’s passage of HB1228 threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold. For these reasons, we are asking Governor Hutchinson to veto this legislation,” McMillon wrote in a statement released on the retailer’s Twitter account.”

McMillon, who hails from Jonesboro, Arkansas, graduated from the University of Arkansas and received a MBA from the University of Tulsa.

“Every day, in our stores, we see firsthand the benefits diversity and inclusion have on our associates, customers and communities we serve," McMillon wrote in the tweet. "It all starts with our core basic belief of respect for the individual.

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