Churches In Fayetteville Explore Options To Stop Discrimination Ordinance

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – The Fayetteville City Council decided to create a new position that would enforce anti-discrimination laws in the city.

Now, some against the new ordinance are looking at options to see how they can stop that from happening.

“The law is probably not perfect,” said Adella Gray, a city council member. “But, I think it is a starting place.”

The community in Fayetteville is split on this issue.

But, the council decided to make the decision on their own, instead of allowing locals to vote on the issue.

“we just felt like it was a thing that we needed to do, as the elected decision makers for the city,” Gray said.

For some in the area who were displeased with the decision, they tell 5NEWS they still have options to stop the measure.

Family Council President Jerry Cox said opponents may look at lawsuit options, or may circulate a petition to bring the issue to voters after all.

Stephanie Nichols is an attorney who represents many of the churches in Fayetteville.

She tells 5NEWS, although they have not made a decision to act, churches may start collecting signatures to put the issue to a public vote in a special election.

They would need more than 4,000 signatures by Sept. 22, according to the Fayetteville City Attorney’s office.

Nichols says there are other options as well.

“More permanently, an injunction to bar the application of the law while a court is reviewing it for constitutionality,” Nichols said.

Gray said this issue didn`t belong on a ballot.

“We just felt like that was what we were elected to do. To make big decisions,” Gray said.

Some in the community told 5NEWS, no matter the side people take, the citizens should make this decision.

“The council was voted in by people who they`re not letting vote on this issue,” said Larry Wolfe, a local man. “I think the vote is a better way to go.”

Although she doesn`t find a vote necessary, Gray said if the city does want to vote, they have that option still.

“Should it go to a referendum, which it very well may, then the people of Fayetteville will make the decision,” Gray said.

Those violating the anti-discrimination law may face a $500 fine.

Senator Bart Hester told 5NEWS members of the state legislature plan to challenge the new ordinance when lawmakers meet for the next session in January.



  • Lori Adkins

    I cannot understand why churches would want to fight an ordinance that provides equality. I thought it was a Christian teachings to love thy neighbor, don’t judge or cast the first stone. If they are keeping to biblical writings, are the churches going to support an ordinance that would allow divorced people to be discriminated against? How about discriminating against non-believers? It’s this type of hatred and prejudice that are turning people away from the churches in droves. As the older population of people who were raised to demonize what they don’t understand dies off, there are fewer and fewer of those with antiquated beliefs are left to fill their shoes. Put down your stones churches and learn to love your neighbor.

  • Celeste Swaim

    Once again it is man’s idea to try and stop a good thing from happening, not God’s. God created all in his image, isn’t that what “church” teaches? am I not created in that image too?

  • Lee

    This is strange to me. Why would churches want to stop this especially when churches are exempt from it. I feel like this has more to do with politics than it has to do with how people in church feel or should feel.

  • atc8824

    Can’t we all just get along?If you cut me I will bleed so will every other human on this earth.God said not to judge and to bring sinner unto his house and teach them his word.I have many preachers in my family and if they shun anybody from the word of God they are breaking their own religion.

  • Katrina Rose

    “Stephanie Nichols is an attorney who represents many of the churches in Fayetteville.”
    Captain Kirk once asked, “What does god need with a starship?” Likewise, if the churches believe that their position is right and that it is what their all-powerful god wants, then why not just pray and see if their all-powerful god acts?

  • That Guy

    Keep it up, churches. You wonder why people are leaving organized religion in droves (especially we in the younger generation). I will never understand how people can be against equality, and use their religion to promote hatred and bigotry. It’s just sad, really.

  • Bob Gnarly

    The group consisting of “many of the churches in Fayetteville” is not the same as “every church in Fayetteville”. It would be wise to determine exactly which groups are taking action in this matter rather than casting the blanket of guilt upon them all, which is the very definition of prejudice.

    I really don’t see why any religious organization would see a need to enter into this debate

    • MasterProp

      Very good point, Bob. I know of many very open churches in Fayetteville that allow anybody to come and worship (because, really, I don’t recall Jesus turning anyone away), that I don’t for a second believe support repealing this. Everyone needs to remember that while *some* churches are divisive, many of them are friends to all.

  • Mark Smith

    The Hypocrisy of these people of God will be their undoing. How can any Christian ascribe to the racist underpinnings of their position? I pray that humility and prayer bring about change. The good news is that the congregations now have a good idea of the “Godliness” of their leaders supporting such a position. They would be well served to minister to these people or purge them so that they can gain the humility required for the Holy Spirit to operate.
    God Bless everyone.

    • Sarah 300

      Mark & Bob – great comments. Fayetteville is a wonderful city rated fourth in the nation in livability and our college. Is highly rated. We have the best restaurants, it has walk-ability, bike trails, parks, fun festivals, the downtown square, Dickson Street AND a few Conservatives. We accept you, please be accepting of everyone, not just the people who you approve of. Makes me think of that song “Harper Valley PTA”.

  • Kerry Berger

    The issue has been voted upon by the City Council. The motion passed. End of debate. It’s time to join the rest of the Advanced democratic nations and recognize that we cannot discriminate against the LGBT community because some of these religious bigots don’t like them. Marriage equality, equal opportunity is for all Americans not just a chosen few. Time to move on to more important matters like religious discrimination against non-religious people as well. That’s the next battle to fight.

    • Kerry Berger

      Just to add, marriage is a matter of civil law, not religious law. We still do have Separation of Church and State, and these religious extremists are walking a very thin line of behaving in an unconstitutional manner. I think those local churches who are promoting anti-LGBT sentiment should lose their tax free status, and I have no qualms about writing to the IRS to investigate them. The First Amendment protects us from religions imposing their values on those who are not adherents to their particular brand of religion.

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