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US states pass amended religious freedom laws after outcry

The US states of Arkansas and Indiana passed amended versions of religious freedom laws on Thursday following a nationwide outcry that the original legislation effectively legalized discrimination against homosexuals. Arkansas’s Republican-dominated legislature passed its “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” but without the clauses which could have allowed companies to refuse to serve gay customers on religious grounds. Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson swiftly signed the bill into law, a day after refusing to sign the original version of the bill and urging lawmakers to think again. The state legislature in Indiana, also Republican-controlled, meanwhile passed a new law specifically forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender, clarifying a law on religious freedom passed law week which triggered outrage.

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