Today, HRC blasted the Arkansas Supreme Court for striking down a local ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The ordinance, approved by Fayetteville voters in September of 2015, includes protections for LGBTQ people in housing, employment and public accommodations. This ruling removes these protections for LGBTQ people in Fayetteville, further opening up Arkansans to discrimination.
“Let’s be clear, the state’s preemption law is unconstitutional. This ruling from the Arkansas Supreme Court is an attack on LGBTQ Arkansans and takes away hard-won protections approved by voters in Fayetteville,” said Kendra R. Johnson, HRC Arkansas state director. “Fayetteville’s leaders and citizens chose to protect their friends and neighbors when their representatives in Little Rock would not. Removing these protections leaves LGBTQ people without local, municipal or state protections, putting them at heightened risk of discrimination as they simply go about their daily lives. We oppose this harmful ruling.”
In February of 2015, the Arkansas legislature passed a law that banned cities from passing their own municipal protections for LGBTQ people — one of only three such laws in the country, including the reviled HB2 in North Carolina. This preemption law is a blatant attack on LGBTQ people and takes away the right of communities to protect their citizens when the state government will not.
In 2014, HRC launched Project One America, an initiative geared towards advancing social, institutional and legal equality in Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi. HRC Arkansas continues to work to advance equality for LGBTQ Arkansans who have no state level protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations. Through HRC Arkansas, we are working toward a future of fairness every day — changing hearts, minds and laws toward achieving full equality.