FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) - In December, voters in Fayetteville will decide in a special election whether they want to repeal a civil rights ordinance voted in by the City Council earlier this year.
Monday (Nov. 10) night, those in favor of keeping the ordinance held a teleconference to take questions from the public.
“We are absolutely against the repeal of the ordinance," said Anne Shelley, representative of Keep Fayetteville Fair. “We believe that no one in Fayetteville should be refused housing, kicked out of a restaurant, or lose their jobs simply because of who they are.”
Keep Fayetteville Fair is a group which supports Fayetteville’s Civil Rights Ordinance, which prohibits business owners from discriminating against employees or customers based on factors like race, sexual orientation or age.
Shelley was part of the teleconference with Fayetteville Alderman Matthew Petty, as the group prepares to kick off its campaign later this week.
State Representative Charlie Collins, whose district includes parts of Fayetteville, opposes the ordinance.
“If we do not want to create a new series of litigation risks to our businesses, vote repeal 119 on December 9,” Collins said.
According to Collins, the ordinance will have a negative impact on businesses in Fayetteville.
“Anything you do in a city that is going to have a chilling effect on job creation, like this type of ordinance, in the business community it is going to have a big reaction,” Collins said.
“I sadly think, if you look back through history, anytime the rights of minorities have been up for any kind of election, there are folks who are going to be out there advocating against it,” Shelley said.
Those with Keep Fayetteville Fair said they are certain the ordinance will stay in place following the special election.
“Absolutely, we will keep Fayetteville fair. That is what all of the folks here, who live, play, and work here, want; is a fair community for everyone,” Shelley said.
However, those in favor of repealing the ordinance, believe they will get the majority of the vote.
“The people of Fayetteville will vote to repeal 119,” Collins said. “[The ordinance] creates so much uncertainty, and so much potential legal turmoil.”
Although the ordinance was voted in by the Fayetteville City Council in August, it cannot be enforced until the outcome of the special election on Dec. 9.