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Wal-Mart, GE Pressure Has States Changing Tune on Gay Rights

Demonstrators attend a rally on the steps of the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., on March 31,  in protest of a bill that passed in the state House that critics say will lead to discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Photographer: Danny Johnston/AP Photo
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U.S. companies are emerging as among the most outspoken -- and effective -- adversaries of legislation they contend would sanction discrimination against gays.

Pressure from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Apple Inc., General Electric Co. and others persuaded Indiana lawmakers to amend a religious-freedom law and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to reject one bill legislators sent him. Opposition from companies may be slowing the momentum in states that are considering what critics decry as antigay measures disguised as protecting religious liberty.