Mary Steenburgen adds voice against gay discrimination law | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mary Steenburgen adds voice against gay discrimination law

Posted By on Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 2:10 PM

click to enlarge OPPOSES HB 1228: Mary Steenburgen, in shot from role on "Justified."
  • OPPOSES HB 1228: Mary Steenburgen, in shot from role on "Justified."
Mary Steenburgen, the Arkansas native actress, has added her voice to those opposing HB 1228, the bill aimed at preserving legal discrimination against gay people under the pretext of religious freedom. It would create untold other complications for all sorts of government activities to give people a religious excuse to avoid the law.

The Human Rights Campaign announced Steenburgen's statement on the issue.

All such support is welcome, of course. But will it change hearts and minds of the Arkansas legislature? Stones are hard to penetrate.

The HRC release:

Academy Award-winning actress and Arkansas native Mary Steenburgen voiced her opposition to H.B. 1228 in an email to HRC Arkansas supporters this week. If passed into law, the “Conscience Protection Act” would allow individuals to sue government actors—including teachers, firefighters and police officers—if that individual believed that their personal religious beliefs were being violated. Steenburgen joins other notable names speaking out against the discriminatory legislation—including Wal-Mart, Apple, Inc. and former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.

Below is Steenburgen’s email to supporters:


“Much like yourself, my roots run deep here in Arkansas — it’s where I was born, where I grew up, and where I chose to open my own business.

As a native Arkansan, it pains me to see politicians in the Arkansas Capitol try and chip away at the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people across the state. In fact as you read this email, a bill that would allow for discrimination against LGBT people awaits a decision in the Arkansas Senate.

The bill could give businesses the right to discriminate against people when it comes to employment and access to public places we all use on a regular basis such as doctor’s offices and retail shops. As an Arkansan, I am opposed to legislation that discriminates against my friends, family and loved ones who happen to be LGBT.

HRC Arkansas has been fighting this destructive bill since it was introduced earlier this year, but we cannot stop until it is defeated once and for all.” 



Last week, the issue suffered a key setback in the Arkansas Senate Judiciary Committee. Though the bill failed to get a recommendation from the committee, members could try to revive the bill at a later date. HRC Arkansas is working aggressively to prevent the bill from advancing to the full Senate.

“We won’t stop advocating against this bill until legislators understand its harmful impact upon all Arkansans—including those who are LGBT,” said HRC Arkansas state director Kendra R. Johnson. “The ‘Conscience Protection Act’ is discrimination at its root and Arkansas deserves better.”

According to a 2014 HRC survey, LGBT Arkansans are productive, contributing members of their respective communities. Almost 60 percent of respondents have lived in the Natural State for more than 20 years; more than 50 percent have volunteered in their communities; and 9 percent of LGBT Arkansans are currently serving, or have served, in the Armed Forces. However, LGBT people in Arkansas face challenging hurdles. In the Natural State, 37 percent have experienced harassment at work; half have experienced harassment on the street; and 38 percent of LGBT households earning less than $45,000 have experienced harassment at work.


HRC Arkansas is working to advance equality for LGBT Arkansans who have no state or municipal level protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations; legal state recognition for their relationships and families; state rights to jointly adopt children; and state protections from hate crimes. HRC Arkansas works to realize a future where everyone is treated fairly by changing hearts, minds and laws.

Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016
  • Kenneth Starr: A comment from Betsey Wright

    Betsey Wright, former President Bill Clinton's chief of staff when he was Arkansas governor, responds bitterly to a New York Times article today quoting Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's warm words about Clinton. She can't forget the lives Starr ruined in Arkansas.
    • May 24, 2016
  • Civil War over in Fort Smith; lawyer strikes his Rebel mascot battle tent

    KSFM reports that Joey McCutchen, the lawyer who's been trying to restart the Civil War in Fort Smith over the School Board's decision to drop the Rebel mascot and related trappingsfor Southside High School, is dropping his School Board takeover campaign.
    • May 27, 2016

Most Shared

  • Discussion: State killing of the mentally ill

    The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and others will have a forum on mental illness and the death penalty at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Bowen School of Law's Friday Courtroom.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation