Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Arkansas AG Leslie Rutledge

A proposal to add sexual orientation to a list of categories protected from discrimination by state law may go to Arkansas voters if enough signatures are collected, after Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge approved the potential measure, according to Little Rock’s ABC affiliate KATV.

The ballot initiative would be in response to a so-called “religious freedom” bill that would allow discrimination against gays and lesbians if someone claims a deeply held religious belief.

Meanwhile, former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel wrote an op-ed in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette condemning the “religious freedom” bill passed this week by the legislature but that Gov. Asa Hutchinson has refused to sign.

“Arkansas is a state where discrimination has no place,” McDaniel wrote. “Our true values are based on compassion and respect and lifting up one another.”

McDaniel believes the law would allow discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“The truth about HB1228 is that it would allow individuals and businesses across this state to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Arkansans, to women, to religious minorities — and to any other Arkansan who may face regular discrimination.”