NAACP Statement on “Religious Freedom” Legislation in Indiana and Arkansas

BALTIMORE, Md. – After a national and state-wide uproar over bills promoted as religious freedom measures and criticized as discriminatory against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals, state lawmakers in Indiana and in Arkansas approved new legislation  to remove the most contentious language. In Indiana, legislators passed a series of changes on Thursday that, while not outlawing anti-gay discrimination, clarified that the religious freedom law does not authorize such discrimination. Lawmakers in Arkansas, acting at the urging of the governor, passed a measure that is nearly identical to the federal Religious Freedom and Restoration Act.

From Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President & CEO:

“The NAACP’s constitution affirmatively states that our objective is to ensure the ‘political, educational, social and economic equality’ of all people. Therefore, the NAACP has opposed and will continue to oppose any national, state or local policy that seeks to codify discrimination or hatred into the law or to remove the Constitutional rights of LGBT citizens. Religious freedom is a constitutional value that we both celebrate and recognize as it is woven into the fabric of who we are as a nation. Furthermore, we believe that every American deserves to live a safe and just life, free of prejudice and discrimination. The NAACP will continue to work to ensure that all Americans are protected from discrimination, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, point of national origin, or genuine or perceived sexual orientation.”