A group of human rights activists rallied outside the state capitol building in Little Rock, Arkansas on 1 April, protesting against a bill they say allows people to use religion as a basis for discrimination.

Scores of protesters rallied in support of Republican Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson's move to reject a religion bill, after a firestorm of criticism assailing such legislation as discriminating against the LGBT community.

"Our work is not finished and we are not at the end of this road until all Arkansans, all citizens of this state are treated equally under the law and are provided the protection that should be guaranteed that LGBT folks are protected form the discrimination and public accommodations in work place and all the other places that we should be protected as citizens of this state and of this country," Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin told supporters.

Hutchinson said he was sending the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) back to the Republican-controlled legislature to be rewritten to better balance tolerance for diversity and protections of religious freedom.

Twenty US states and the federal government have RFRAs, which allow individuals to sue the government if they believe their First Amendment religious rights have been violated.

But those in Indiana and Arkansas go further than all but one of the state laws, allowing lawsuits between private parties. That raised the possibility that businesses such as florists or photographers could use the law as a defence if they are sued for refusing to provide services for same-sex weddings. Texas is the only other state with a similar provision.

Hutchinson said he was asking lawmakers to bring the Arkansas RFRA in line with the federal one, which does not include the language on lawsuits between private parties.

Outside the Arkansas capitol, Eddie Armstrong, Arkansas State Representative, said: "Arkansas still needs full protection, ladies and gentlemen, as you've seen with the creation of this law we still need full protection, and our LGBT community just like each and every neighbour north, south, east and west needs protection."

Supporters of the bills in Indiana and Arkansas argue that courts hearing religious freedom cases will ensure a balance is struck between religious freedom and anti-discrimination.