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Walmart, Marsh respond to 'religious freedom' laws

Recently passed so-called “religious freedom” bills in Indiana and Arkansas that many say would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians have caused a backlash, including from retailers.

Walmart issued a statement on Wednesday from CEO Doug McMillon applauding Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s refusal to sign his state’s bill:

“We commend Governor Hutchinson and legislative leaders for reconsidering HB1228. We clearly support the importance of religious freedom and encourage the legislature to make certain any legislation does not encourage discrimination.”

McMillon had previously called upon Hutchinson to veto the legislation because it “threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas.”

Similarly, Marsh Supermarkets issued a statement on Indiana’s law on its Facebook page:

To any and all concerned parties:Since 1931, Marsh has built a heritage of serving customers in its hometown...

Posted by Marsh Supermarkets on Friday, March 27, 2015

Customer reaction to Marsh’s stance was mixed, with some commending the chain and others questioning the necessity of the declaration.

Both Arkansas and Indiana are considering changes to the “religious freedom” legislation to clarify the laws do not allow businesses to discriminate against potential customers.

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