We all have our disagreements with our dads. Sometimes our dads are powerful politicians.
But union organizer Seth Hutchinson seems to have gotten some positive results out of his public rift with his Republican governor father, Asa, over Arkansas’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. On Wednesday, Gov. Hutchinson announced that he would not sign the bill, passed by the Republican legislature, saying he wants state lawmakers to make the language more consistent with federal law.
During the governor’s press conference Wednesday morning announcing his decision, he said the issue has “divided families, and there is clearly a generational gap on this issue.” He was speaking, in part, about his own family.
“My son Seth signed the petition asking me, Dad, the governor, to veto this bill,” said Hutchinson, who had previously indicated that he would sign the bill. “And he gave me permission to make that reference, and it shows that…there’s a generational difference of opinion on these issues.”
Like Indiana’s “religious freedom” law, the Arkansas measure would permit people who feel their religious liberties are “substantially burdened” to fight an order in court—and these people include corporations. Such bills have been slammed as anti-gay and enabling discrimination.
Following his father’s remarks, the younger Hutchinson posted on his Facebook wall:
“I’m proud to have made a small contribution to the overall effort to stop discrimination against the LGBT community in Arkansas, the state that I love (Go hogs!),” he wrote.
Seth Hutchinson, 31, isn’t all that conservative. “I love my dad, and we have a good, close relationship,” he told The New York Times. “But we disagree a lot on political issues. This is just another one, but a lot of families disagree politically. But we stay close.”
He insisted that he did not deserve too much credit for the governor’s decision. “I did not sway my dad,” he added. “I think my dad is rethinking this because of the pressure that’s coming at him from all sides.”
As for Gov. Hutchinson’s explanation, part of it certainly is a generational issue. After all, millennials are the gayest generation to date.
Watch the governor’s remarks: