LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Facing a backlash from businesses and gay rights advocates, Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas on Wednesday called on state lawmakers to either recall or amend legislation billed as a religious freedom measure so that it mirrored a federal law approved in 1993.
Mr. Hutchinson, a Republican, said he understood the divide in Arkansas and across the nation over the question of same-sex marriage and its impact on people’s religious beliefs. His own son, Seth, he said, had asked him to veto the bill, which critics say could allow individuals and businesses to discriminate against gay men and lesbians.
To ensure that the state is “a place of tolerance,” Mr. Hutchinson said, he was considering using an executive order that would seek to balance the “competing constitutional obligations” if the legislature declined to make changes to the bill.