Arkansas gives final approval to religious-freedom bill

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Arkansas lawmakers have given final approval to a religious-freedom bill that has drawn sharp criticism from opponents who say it opens the door to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The House voted Tuesday to approve the measure, which prohibits the state and local governments from infringing on a person's religious beliefs without a "compelling" interest. The measure now heads to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has said he will sign it into law.

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Arkansas gives final approval to religious-freedom bill
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 2: Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long speaks as House Speaker Brian Bosma (R) looks on during a press conference about anti-discrimination safeguards added to the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act at the State Capitol April, 2, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The bill prompted a swift backlash nationwide with businesses and entertainers promising to boycott the state. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 2: Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma speaks as Senate President Pro Tem David Long (L) looks on during a press conference about anti-discrimination safeguards added to the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act at the State Capitol April, 2, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The bill prompted a swift backlash nationwide with businesses and entertainers promising to boycott the state. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 31: U.S. Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) holds a press conference March 31, 2015 at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pence spoke about the state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act which has been condemned by business leaders and Democrats. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 31: U.S. Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) holds a press conference March 31, 2015 at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pence spoke about the state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act which has been condemned by business leaders and Democrats. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 30: Demonstrators gather outside the City County Building on March 30, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The group called on the state house to roll back the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 30: Demonstrator JD Ford speaks outside the City County Building on March 30, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The group called on the state house to roll back the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 31: U.S. Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) holds a press conference March 31, 2015 at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pence spoke about the state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act which has been condemned by business leaders and Democrats. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - March 30: City County Council Vice President John Barth introduces a resolution calling for the repeal or revision of the state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act at the City County Building in March 30, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Protestors have called on the state house to roll back the religious freedom law that criticssay can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 30: Demonstrators react to the City County Council passing a resolution calling on the state to repeal or revise it's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration act at the City County Building in March 30, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Protestors have called on the state house to roll back the religious freedom law that critics say can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long, left, R-Fort Wayne, and House Speaker Brian C. Bosma R-Indianapolis, discuss their plans for clarifying the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act during a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Monday, March 30, 2015. Republican legislative leaders in Indiana state say they are working on adding language to a new state law to make it clear that it doesn't allow discrimination against gays and lesbians. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 30: Demonstrators gather outside the City County Building on March 30, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The group called on the state house to roll back the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
Indiana Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane, left, D-Anderson, and Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, call for the repeal of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act during a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Monday, March 30, 2015. Republican legislative leaders say they are working on adding language to a new state law to make it clear that it doesn't allow discrimination against gays and lesbians. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 30: Demonstrators gather outside the City County Building on March 30, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The group called on the state house to roll back the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 30: Demonstrators gather outside the City County Building on March 30, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The group called on the state house to roll back the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 30: Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard speaks about Indiana's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act outside the City County Building in March 30, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The mayor called on the state house to roll back the religious freedom law that many feel can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 30: Demonstrator JD Ford speaks outside the City County Building on March 30, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The group called on the state house to roll back the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 30: Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle speaks about Indiana's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act outside the City County Building in March 30, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Angie's List has threatened to pull out of a planned expantion in the state over the religious freedom law, that many feel can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-Osceola, addresses a rally of supporters of a religious freedom bill at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. Weson is the author of the bill that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on later in the day. The Republican-sponsored proposal would prohibit any state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs and extends the definition of a "person" to include religious institutions, businesses and associations. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence holds a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Thursday, March 26, 2015. Pence has signed into law a religious objections bill that some convention organizers and business leaders have opposed amid concern it could allow discrimination against gay people. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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If enacted, the move will make Arkansas the second state to enact such a law this year. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a similar bill last week, and 19 other states have comparable measures on the books.

Hundreds of protesters filled the Arkansas Capitol urging Hutchinson to veto the bill.

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