Arkansas Supreme Court Hears Fayetteville Civil Rights Ordinance Case

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- The fate of the civil rights ordinance in Fayetteville is now in the hands of the Arkansas Supreme Court.

The civil rights ordinance went into effect in November 2015 and protects any LGBT person from being discriminated against when it comes to things like housing, public services and employment.

Fayetteville City Attorney Kit Williams defended citizens Thursday (Feb. 9.).

“I pointed out that in fact a protected class of gender identity and also sexual orientation had been enacted into state law in the antibullying statute. So citizens could not have created these, they were already there,” Williams said.

Williams said he explained to the court that the citizens of Fayetteville want children to have the same protections as they do in school.

“When they go down to the coffee shop or go to a business, go home to their parents' apartment, that they aren't going to be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity in Fayetteville just not like they are in school,” he said.

He thinks the passing of this ordinance sent a clear statement to everyone in Fayetteville that we should honor and welcome everyone.

“That we are in favor of equality and fair treatment for everyone and I think that really calmed down everything when there had been some tension before and since that had happened I think Fayetteville has been a much happier and more friendly place,” he said.

Williams said it was a difficult case and said there were some judges that seemed to think that the city was not in compliance with state law. He said they will just have to wait and see but he was happy and honored to defend this ordinance.

The Arkansas Supreme Court could make a ruling as soon as next Thursday (Feb. 16).

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