Arkansas religious-freedom bill goes to governor

Arkansas legislators passed a religious-objections bill on Tuesday similar to the one enacted into law by Indiana, despite growing opposition from companies and activist groups who fear that such laws will lead to discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The Arkansas House approved the measure Tuesday afternoon with more than 60 votes in favor, in a series of actions to adopt amendments made in the state Senate.

The bill now goes to Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, who has said he would sign it, if the measure resembled laws passed by other states. A spokesman for Hutchinson said Tuesday he will comment on the bill on Wednesday.

A number of large companies—including Arkansas’ most prominent employer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT, -0.34%  —and Apple Inc. AAPL, -1.54%  have come out against the state’s bill, saying it would result in discrimination. The mayor of the state’s capital, Little Rock, as well as the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, joined the opposition on Tuesday, saying the bill would be bad for business.

Before the measure was approved as anticipated on Tuesday afternoon, dozens of protesters gathered at the state Capitol, waving signs urging Hutchinson to veto it.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com

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