FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – The Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce released a response Thursday to the city’s new civil rights ordinance, saying local business owners are “very concerned” about how the law will be implemented.
In the letter to Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan, the Chamber suggests the city create a 10-person panel to deal with discrimination claims, in order to protect the rights of local business owners.
The letter recommends the panel be made up of two members of the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community, two members of the retail business community, two members of the real estate business community, two members of the faith community and two lawyers who are engaged in civil rights practices.
The anti-discrimination ordinance was passed six votes to two by the Fayetteville City Council in the early hours of Aug. 20, following about nine hours of public input and discussion.
Proponents of the law believe it is needed to protect the rights of locals who might otherwise be discriminated against by local businesses and housing agencies. Those against the ordinance said they believed it could open up frivolous claims against otherwise reputable local businesses and possible violate those business owners’ First Amendment rights.
The ordinance will create a civil rights administrator, who will be able to use the city’s powers to ensure “all persons within the city have equal access to employment, housing and public accommodations,” the ordinance states. The ordinance states it will ban business establishments from discriminating against people based on real or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, familial status, marital status, socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation, disability and veteran status.
The proposed ordinance also bans discrimination measures while employing a person or conducting a housing or real estate transaction.
Click here to read more about the ordinance and how it was approved by the city council.