Voters Repeal Fayetteville Civil Rights Ordinance

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)- Fayetteville voters have repealed the city's Civil Rights Ordinance following a special election Tuesday (Dec. 9).

Those in favor of repeal got 52% of the vote with 7,523 ballots cast. Those in favor of keeping the ordinance got 48% of the vote with 7,040 ballots cast.

The ordinance would have prohibited local businesses and entities from discriminating against employees and customers based on gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and other factors. The Fayetteville City Council passed the ordinance in August, but a group that opposed it gathered enough signatures to force Tuesday's special election.

Duncan Campbell, a local minister and president of Repeal 119, said the outcome of the vote indicates the residents of Fayetteville want it to be a free city. He also said voters who voted against repeal misunderstood those who wanted the ordinance repealed.

“We wanted to repeal the ordinance because we didn’t believe it made Fayetteville a fairer city or a freer city,” Campbell said. “It did just the opposite. It was called the Civil Rights Ordinance, but it was misnamed. It was an ordinance that actually took away civil rights and freedom from people. It criminalized civil behavior. It didn’t accomplish the stated purpose of the ordinance and it was crafted by an outside group, it wasn’t something Fayetteville residents put together.”

Anne-Garland Berry, the campaign manager for Keep Fayetteville Fair, which campaigned to keep the ordinance in place, said she was disappointed with the voters' decision.

"But I'm also very excited that the process worked," she said. "I think [the loss] means that we have a lot of work to do. We haven't had the conversations we needed to have. We haven't persuaded the people we needed to persuade. So my goal for our team and those of us here and in other parts of Arkansas and in other parts of the south and in this country is [that] we should have more conversation."


      • Paul

        No.. The laws were written to protect the minority against the majority .. Especially in cases where people were clearly discriminated against .. Ie-civil rights act of 64.. I’m sure you aren’t in favor of that either.. If you even know what it means..

    • Robert T. Drake

      No, liberalism is what’s wrong with America. We’re tired of your brand of intolerance. We’re tired of being lied to by your messiah Obola. We’re tired of our country being dragged into the gutter. And we’re tired of the increasingly blatant attempts to destroy our homeland by a bunch of hypocrites like YOU!

      • Cody

        lol. Dragged in the gutter ay? Last I checked the DOW was at all time highs, unemployment is at pre-crisis levels, and taxes are lower rather than higher. I’m not even crazy about all the President’s policies. You’re just stuck, man.

      • Peter Q. Smith

        Did Obama promulgate 119? Did he campaign in Fayetteville for the ordinance to remain? Did he swoop in and cancel the special election? Didn’t think so…
        You might try using facts the next time you post something online.

      • Erik H

        I would argue that narrow-minded right wing gun toting a-holes like you are what’s wrong with Anerica. Instead of being able to hold an intelligent conversation with someone who opposes your view you’d rather insult them or shoot them. If you really believe the country is being dragged into the gutter how about you do something about it instead of just whining that the liberals are ruining everything. Liberals can’t be your scapegoat for everything. And I would much rather have Obama in office than the crooked businessman Mitt Romney or John McCain who couldn’t even pick a competent VP candidate. Get over yourself Robert.

      • Michael Evans

        Erik, Are you really this seriously IGNORANT???
        You START your comment with name calling and insults, the VERY NEXT sentence you spend decrying others for using insults as their only means of conversation. Well, you must have been looking in the mirror the entire time. Typical hypocritical lieberturd troll.

      • existenzial

        The only individuals that can claim this as their “homeland” are the indigenous Native Americans whose land you immigrated illegally to with slaves in tow and stole from (and still continue to steal from) despite their generosity and hospitality. Racism is pointless. We are all part of the broad spectrum of humanity and have all contributed to the advancement of the species as a whole. Don’t forget the history of this country. This was never your homeland. What wasn’t stole from the natives was bought from Mexico lest you forget. Idiot.

      • Michael Evans

        existenzial-You mean the original IMMIGRANTS that you call American Indians???? Those who were NOT NATIVE to this land from the beginning.
        So YES, this IS just as much MY homeland as it is ANYONE else’s
        You talk about land that was BOUGHT???? Well, fool that DOES make it OURS. If I BUY a CAR it is MY CAR and not anyone else’s anymore , is it?????
        Are you talking about the blacks that were SOLD to Whites BY BLACKS themselves. Tired of under educated trolls trying to CREATE history. NO White man MADE these people slaves, they just bought them from their prior owners.
        DEMOCRAT , most were democrat, slave holders to begin with. You may remember that it was Republicans who FOUGHT and ENDED slavery to begin with. Democrats recreated slavery and re-named it ” WELFARE “

    • JPo

      So the question is why is this even needed? There are already laws on the books. I haven’t delved into the specifics but I’d venture that the opponents were right. This ordinance likely disguises it’s intentions. There are already laws that govern discrimination at nearly every level of government, most superseding this one. A law passed is a freedom lost.

  • Jon Gruber

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !!! What happened to all those stories about the repeal failing 5 “NEWS?”” Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! What you libs gonna do now – leave the state? Good.

    • Cody

      What pit do you hateful people crawl out from for election day? I never encounter such malice and willful ignorance here in my day-to-day. Fayetteville is home to me, I love it — even though I’m surprised and disappointed by it for now. We’re not going anywhere.

  • Get Real

    Well done Fayetteville, and congratulations! I imagine more attention will be paid to who runs for city council in the future.

  • Dave

    The comments on this post give a fascinating look at what it must be like to live in a state like Arkansas. Considering this is one of the states receiving the highest handouts from the federal government, you’d think there would be more people in favor of all that free money. Arkansas gets $1.47 back in federal money for every dollar they contribute. Best to just send them off with the other southern states to form the Christian States, independent of the rest of us. Sure would lower my taxes.

  • objectivefodder

    This should be a wake-up call to those of you of faith. Those who believe in the invisible entity in the sky DO discriminate. We know this. The ordinance actually protected those of alternative faiths such as Islamic, Hindu and Buddhists applying for housing and employment. But the religious faithful got the message that intolerance won’t be tolerated. Perhaps they’ll behave now considering. The votes were close so progress is encouraging. People are realizing that progressive thinking is better for all in society. Congratulations to all who exercised your constitutional rights.

    • Darin

      I have no problem of people of other faiths. They do believe in a god and who is to say that they are wrong. They have their salvation and their faith

  • Denise

    Again, something has happened that makes me ashamed to be a resident of AR. Who in their right mind would vote against an civil rights ordinance? There was nothing difficult to understand. People, from various groups, do get discriminated against on a daily basis. This would have , hopefully, prevented some of it from happening. What I have discovered moving here from the North is that some people use the bible as a shield to hide hate, bigotry & discrimination. The Christianity I was raised with would never tolerate that kind of behavior. This is why we have laws-to protect everyone’s rights, not just certain groups. It is so disappointing & disgusting to witness this kind negative behavior that truly hurts people, due to a lack of knowledge, lack of understanding & compassion for one’s fellow man, lack of education, lack of clarity for what is right & wrong and fear of things that are different from what one knows or is familiar with. This fear & unwillingness to grow or learn, drives people to hate & run from everything that isn’t just like them. All civil rights issues stem from this kind of behavior & this is a civil rights issue.

    • william winston wilhurst

      This issue had nothing to do with religion. I supported the repeal completely and I am agnostic. The issue is whether or not government has the right to further limit the choices of PRIVATE businesses. PRIVATE bussinesses and individuals have NO OBLIGATION to treat others equally – only government must treat rightful, law abiding citizens fairly and equally. If the government of the city of Fayetteville refuses trash or fire service, employment, etc. to an individual because of race, religion, hair colour, etc., that is a problem the citizenry must correct. If a PRIVATE business chooses not to employ or serve any individual for any reason, neither you nor I have any right to demand that the business do otherwise. Supporting laws that allow governments to restrict individual rights and freedoms in the name of individual rights and freedom is beyond foolish. How anyone cannot see this is beyond me.

      • Paul

        You are completely wrong.. Private business don’t have the right to discriminate against protected classes.. I’ve worked for plenty of private businesses and they were concerned about things like fair housing etc…. All privately owned.. And what constitutes a private business? If your open to the public you are not a private business..
        Let me get this straight.. You think the right of “private” business’s to discriminate outweighs equality for all? Didn’t they use this arguement in the 60s to justify not serving blacks at the food counters of local “private” businesses??

      • Dan_in_PA

        What you describe is your freedom to restrict other citizen’s freedom based solely upon arbitrary values that you choose to apply. Where does it stop? Should anyone be free to restrict another’s freedom based solely upon aspects that you don’t like?

        This is not so much about your freedom to discriminate as it is about a government’s right to enforce contract law. After all, all public interactions are governed in 1 way or anther by contract law. In this light, your freedom ends where the other individual’s rights begin.

        You have it completely backwards sir.

      • nathaniel

        Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals’ freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals, and which ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the society and state without discrimination or repression.

      • Mike D

        I am glad to see that there are still members of our society who understand liberty. The idea that every action of a business is able to be regulated by government would be laughed at by our Framers. (Hamilton would probably have shot you in the face for suggesting it!)

        The 14th Amendment guarantees that local, State and federal governments treat citizens equally. By no means does it require individuals or even businesses to do so.

      • Peter Q. Smith

        “Who is John Galt?….” Only in America could we expect the rants of a drug addled misanthrope to be turned into a political movement. Now we get to have these half-baked ideas spouted back at us on the public comment sections of our local TV station.
        NO ONE is in this alone. NO business was built without the community and the benefits of active local, state and federal governments.
        Your argument regarding “PRIVATE” businesses has no end. If they cannot be compelled to follow employment and accommodation laws, why should we expect them to follow any laws or ordinances established by governments? Build your hamburger shack in the middle of the interstate? Why not? Best way to meet your customers….. Dump chemicals onto your neighbors property? Why not? They should just build a ditch to drain them onto the properties down slope. It ultimately comes down to the authority of the government to establish laws and ordinances that we all have to live by.

    • Kevin

      Face it you lost the only reason it was even kind of close is because of that liberal university. Try this in fort smith and it would show you what arkansas really thinks.

      • Paul

        Wow.. Ft smith.. As if it’s some sort of bastion of cultural diversity.. Why not try it in Harrison??Same thing.. Please don’t compare anything involving social progress and acceptance to any city in Arkansas .. We already know the state is way behind the times!!

      • RG

        Fort Smith more diverse than Fayetteville? That’s hilarious. I’ve lived in both places and Fort Smith is entirely Bible Belt.

  • Richard S. Drake

    While no doubt those who were trembling at the thought of sending their sons and daughters into public restrooms alone can now sleep the sleep of the just (and the paranoid), and those who also relish the idea of turning away business from those they find yucky can run up and down the streets in victory, it might be a good time to quietly reflect on the fact that, though some might vociferously deny it, in the not-so-recent past, Fayetteville hasn’t been such a healthy place for those who have been ____, or even the children of those who have been ____.

    In 1999, I served as minor consultant (though I never actually checked to see if I got any screen credit) for an A&E – when they still did quality programming – program on anti-___ hate crimes. The episode of Investigative Reports took a look at incidents which had happened across the country, including Fayetteville.

  • Richard S. Drake

    In Fayetteville alone, we had Allen Walker, murdered after being picked up by two “straight” men in a ___ bar.
    William Wagner, an openly ___ Fayetteville High School student who suffered a broken nose and kidney damage after a savage public beating on University Avenue. Death threats continued after his beating.

    A young girl at Woodland Junior High School, who while not ____ herself, was taunted and physically beaten because of her mother’s involvement with another woman. School authorities did nothing to protect her.

    All at the hands of Decent folks who cried, “Pervert!”

  • Bcarson09

    So let me get this straight, you can fire, deny housing, and refuse service to gays but you still expect them to pay taxes?

  • Morgan

    I voted for repeal not out of fear, hatred, bigotry or racism. I voted for repeal because the ordinance was so poorly written and subjective. I don’t believe in passing poor legislation with the idea of fixing it after. Fix it before and then put it up to avote at which time I will happily vote for a civil rights ordinance. For those of you disgusted and saddened by your fellow Arkansans after this vote? I am digusted and saddened to by all those who are here attacking my character and making assumptions. Judge much?

  • RogersThat

    I had no idea Fayetteville was such a racist, discriminatory town that it needed a law to keep people in check. Very sad that discrimination was so rampant in the city that elected officials felt that a special law like this was needed to specifically address the problem. People who voted for repeal must not think Fayetteville is such a horrible place.

  • Zack

    The civil rights ordinance violates their right to discriminate against others. Now that it’s been repealed I can refuse service to christians.

    • RogersThat

      And you absolutely should have the right to do that… and people should have the right to spread the word about your discriminatory practices and boycott your business (or, to make a point of supporting your business if they agree with your stand against Christians). And people should have the right to not care one way of the other and use or not use your business as it suits their needs.

    • Robyn Ann

      Zack, there is no such ‘right’ to discriminate. The freedom to express does not remove the right to purchase (which is an actual right) from a “public serving” business.

  • william winston wilhurst

    Though thankful that the ordinance was repealed, I am saddened and concerned at the extent of support the ordinance received. Supporting laws that allow governments to restrict individual rights and freedoms in the name of individual rights and freedom is beyond foolish. How anyone cannot see this is beyond me. PRIVATE bussinesses and individuals have NO OBLIGATION to treat others equally – only government must treat rightful, law abiding citizens fairly and equally. If the government of the city of Fayetteville refuses trash or fire service, employment, etc. to an individual because of race, religion, hair colour, etc., that is a problem the citizenry must correct. If a PRIVATE business chooses not to employ or serve any individual for any reason, no one else has any right to demand that the business do otherwise. On a final note, for those who seem obsessed with “Christian” fundamentalist, bigots, etc., I am AGNOSTIC. This issue has NOTHING to do with religion, it is about the afore mentioned rights of PRIVATE individuals and businesses.

    • nathaniel

      Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals’ freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals, and which ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the society and state without discrimination or repression.

  • Bobby

    how about quit wasting the taxpayers money with your daddy never accepted me issues and get back to doing what your paid to do city council!

  • william winston wilhurst

    This is addressed to “Paul.”

    Unfortunately there are laws on the books limiting the rights of businnesses to hire and serve whom they choose, but my point is that there should not be. PRIVATE businesses are not funded by public money and therefore differ from goverments. PRIVATE businnesses should have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. If it upsets you that a business or businesses does/do not serve a portion of the public you feel it should, invest your own money and start your own business catering to that untapped source of potential revenue.

    As I asked in another post, how can you not see that you are undermining rights by supporting a law in the name of protecting rights? By allowing government to limit the rights of PRIVATE businesses you are helping to create a foundation that will allow government to potentailly restrict your own rights, which I assume you cherish.

    Perhaps you will see my point if you think about the matter more closely and restrict your emotional response.

    • Paul

      William Winston Churchill

      Yes I am undermining the rights of others to discriminate against others.. You are absolutely correct.. Why would you want to discriminate against people not like you? Aren’t we all human beings? This arguement was used in the 60s and things have changed..Are you advocating a private business refusing service to somebody that’s a minority because you don’t like the color of their skin? Most of this bigoted nonsense was handled by the CRA of 64.. And sexual identity will soon be a protected class.. You will have to offer them your are obviously a hater of govt.. Unfortunately we have to have laws on the books that protect the minority.. Mainly because the majority tends to treat the minority poorly..this is just another example.. Bask in your glory now because soon you will be “forced” to not discriminate against the LGBT community.. No different than allowing blacks to drink out of the same water fountain.. The world evolves and becomes more secular by the day.. Much to your chagrin this kind of discrimination will also soon just be a scar in our memories!!

      • william winston wilhurst


        I am not advocating discrimination, I am simply stating that we are all more secure in our rights when we limit governments’ authority to place demands on private individuals and businesses. By allowing goverments more regulatory authority, the rights of those you say you want to protect – blacks, gays, etc. – are being diminished in the process. Chances are, if I owned a business I would welcome anyone who was willing to pay for my goods and services. The desire to make money will more often than not outweigh hatred, fear, etc. And one last time, I am not Christian, I am agnostic. I believe wholeheartedly in a secular government.

    • Paul

      You said private business have no obligation to treat everyone equally in your first post.. Now you come back with “unfortunately there are laws on the books”.. Then you try and clarify by saying they “shouldn’t” have to .. Which one is it? Are the laws there or not? Your opinion doesn’t matter in this case.. Do the laws exist? Please answer the question?

  • Shane G.

    Civil Rights= the government cannot discriminate against you or support a private entity in discriminating against you.

    However, you cannot legislate interaction between private parties. If I sell wedding cakes, and a man comes in wanting to get a wedding cake for him and his goat’s wedding, I shouldn’t have to make the man a cake! And yes that falls into the protected class that this ordinance created (sexual orientation).

  • Richard S. Drake

    The irrational fear and anger we see hear is the reason that Freud came into the world!
    So tired of hearing the stupid “man wanting to marry an animal” line of “reasoning.
    I realize it may seem quite clever to those who write it, but it is trite, and just another slur created by the Right so they DON’T have to deal with human beings.
    Scary how many folks would love to live in a pre-Civil Rights Act era . . .

  • aw

    I am so happy that this was repealed! Now I feel safer using a bathroom and a locker room in Fayetteville! I’m sorry that people have gender and sexual issues but they will not be resolved by glorifying and celebrating what is basically a sin issue. Proud to live in the Bible Belt!

  • Concerned50

    Someone should sue the city Attorney that is supposed to review all laws to see if they are constitutional. Included in the suit should be those that voted for discrimination. Discrimination of any type is illegal, unconstitutional, and criminal because it leads to violence and death.

  • Mi A E

    The vast majority of those voting to KEEP the ordinance were COLLEGE students to begin with. These are people who are NOT actual ‘residents ‘, but in fact PART TIMERS. They are here for a couple of years and make decisions that will screw us for years to come

  • Brian Curtis

    Yeah, remember when we had the ‘freedom’ to lynch black people and say “No Jews Allowed”? Like that. Laws that forbid us from doing stuff like that hurt our freedoms!

  • Brian

    Supreme Court of the United States of America is already pretty clear where they stand on this Issue. Waste of time..

  • Christian

    Congratulations good people of Fayetteville! 48% of the vote is nothing to be ashamed about! The LGBTQ community has come along way in the so called ‘bible belt’ south…True Christians do not practice hate…freedom to live and not be discriminated against will come eventually….

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