Churches In Fayetteville Explore Options To Stop Discrimination Ordinance



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.



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