Arkansas Senator Proposes Bill To Prohibit Future Civil Rights Ordinances

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) – Arkansas Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, filed a bill in Little Rock Monday (Feb. 2) that would keep cities in the state from passing civil rights ordinances that are different from the federal law.

Fayetteville City Attorney Kit Williams said he wasn't surprised to hear the state legislature may consider a bill that prohibits passing laws, like the Civil Rights Ordinance, which Fayetteville voters repealed in December.

“I predicted, to the city council, that the legislature would attempt to preempt the area of civil rights so that Fayetteville, nor any other city, could pass an ordinance to protect the rights of gay and lesbian citizens from being discriminated against,” Williams said.

According to Hester, his bill would keep cities from making civil rights laws that go further than protections already offered by federal law.

“I think the City of Fayetteville needs to understand the people of Fayetteville have spoken, and have said they don`t want this type of bill,” Hester said.

But Williams argues the bill is a way to make discrimination against gay and lesbian individuals legal.

“That's the only group right now who don't have any protection against discrimination,” Williams said.

Hester disagrees.

“The amount of groups that are not protected is endless,” Hester said. “At the end of the day, the federal government has protected classes, and the State of Arkansas honors that.”

Hester said the main goal of his bill is to protect business owners from being falsely accused, and fined, for discrimination claims.

“[Arkansans] have to be able to have uniformity in business law across the state, to make sure that businesses could operate here, and we can have good jobs for families who need them,” Hester said.

Williams believes the bill is not to protect businesses, but rather to avoid protecting gay and lesbian rights.

“It's [written] in a language for economic development,” Williams said. “When, really, all it is is a way to prevent cities from trying to protect their gay and lesbian citizens from unfair discrimination.”

Williams said he cannot speculate on the future of the city’s efforts for a revised civil rights bill, while Hester said he anticipates the legislature will pass his bill with a "super majority."

Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, introduced a similar bill in the Arkansas House of Representatives.

14 comments

  • Chris K

    Hester already got Chancellor Gearhart to “retire.” Apparently, that wasn’t enough. From Hester’s other recent appearances in the news, you’d think the man has nothing better to do.

    • Sean

      Why do you put retire in quotes? I’m guessing there’s a story behind the story of Gearhart’s “retirement”? Please share for those unaware.

      • Chris K

        5newsonline.com/2014/11/21/legislators-criticize-ua-chancellor-for-involving-university-in-divisive-city-ordinance/

  • Tim Kezele

    Personally I think it’s a good idea. If you get different ordinances in different cities throughout the area it will become one big jumbled mess. Keep it on a State or Federal level. If you don’t feel the laws are enough as they stand, take it to the State or Federal legislature to get it changed, not local municipalities. Just keep in mind which ever side of the fence you stand on, you want your rights, that’s well and fine, I want mine too.

      • Tim Kezele

        You apparently miss the total point Sean. But if Liberal Progressives get their total way, we might just lose them all. But I’m not going to stand here and argue with a fence post.

      • Sean

        You can’t argue because you can’t answer.

        Listen I find the idea of g a y s e x repulsive but you can’t tell me with a straight face it’s a good idea to pass laws to legally keep them apart.

        Let them get married and be miserable like everyone else. That would probably decrease the “pride parades”. It’s called a win win.

        PS don’t argue with a fence post that asks you to back up your theories, you’ll end up stomping your feet and screaming “NOT FAIR MR POST!” Lol what a joke you are

      • Mark

        You lose the right to discriminate against the homosexual community because your make believe bible told you so.. Such a nice Christian way to act.. These people are a fucking joke!!

  • Kevin

    I thought they were preaching and preaching that the Fayetteville ordinance was to protect EVERYONE’S rights now after voting the truth comes out according to Kit Williams it was to protect g*ys and l*sbians. Of course I’m pretty sure everyone knew that all along.

    • Mark

      Everyone is an inclusive rather than exclusive term.. That means everybody.. I know it’s hard for a mental midget like yourself to understand..ask somebody to explain it you that has more than an 8th grade education.. Maybe you’ll learn something new.. Doubt it.. But you just might!!

Comments are closed.