Fayetteville, Arkansas residents passed the Uniform Civil Rights Protection ordinance earlier this month. The ordinance, which takes effect on November 7, bans discrimination against LGBTQ people in areas such as employment, housing and places of public accommodation. This is a win for the LGBTQ residents of the town as well as a slap in the face to the fallen reality TV stars, the Duggars. The “do as we say, not as we do” cultists were at the forefront of the campaign against LGBTQ rights last year.
How the mighty have fallen! In the wake of the tremendous public spectacle of Josh Duggar’s fall from grace, the voters of Fayetteville, Arkansas flipped the right-wing cultist Duggar family the bird. This collective “screw you!” came in the form of repealing a city council-approved anti-LGBTQ rights bill passed last year after a nasty campaign headed by, you guessed it, those paragons of morality, the Duggars.
Apparently, Fayetteville residents got fed up with the “do as we say, not as we do” preaching of the now-off-the-air reality TV family. It’s hard to justify hating on LGBTA folks at the behest of a family that went out of its way to cover up the molestation of some of its daughters by one of its sons. Toss in the Ashley Madison scandal and Josh’s infidelities and the voters just couldn’t take it anymore.
The new, but not perfect, Uniform Civil Rights Protection ordinance was ratified earlier this month after a close vote. Roughly 52.8% of the good people of Fayetteville voted in favor of giving LGBTQ folks some protection under local law. The other 47.2% were too busy hoping their names weren’t next on the list in the Ashley Madison reveal.
Kyle Smith, president of For Fayetteville, said, “I think this says that Fayetteville voters really are fair and inclusive folks. I think we proved tonight that this is the Fayetteville we all know and love.”
The Uniform Civil Rights Protection ordinance will become law on November 7 unless Protect Fayetteville, a Duggarless hate group, gets its way in court. Given their spectacularly poor first attempt, I doubt their challenge will be successful.
The group sued, asking for an injunction to stop the election. However, Judge Doug Martin denied it, saying they had waited too late. The legal geniuses handling the suit filed it the day before the election. Um… Yeah. It’s not like there wasn’t any advance notice of an election or anything.
Of course, applying the logic for which they are famous the group will continue to fight. The new plan is to challenge the process used to get the ordinance on the ballot and to argue that a hateful anti-LGBTQ state law prohibiting such ordinances trumps it. Many Arkansas lawyers, such as Fayetteville City Attorney Kit Williams, assert that there are statutory and constitutional grounds defending the ordinance against Sen. Bart Hester’s hateful legislation. Hester, not a Fayetteville resident, worked against the ordinance because it would be a setback to his anti-LGBTQ cause and he apparently prefers his legislation with a 1950s flavor.
The Uniform Civil Rights Protection ordinance bans discrimination in housing, employment and places of public accommodation on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. Complaints will be reviewed by a seven-member, City Council-approved Civil Rights Commission and those found to be in violation of the ordinance will be fined up to $100 for the first offense.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a pro-LGBTQ juggernaut, which had provided funding for other LGBTQ causes in Fayetteville, didn’t back the cause this time, as it felt there were some unnecessary religious loopholes.
An HRC spokesperson said, “We highly respect and value the work being done by our partners to expand LGBT equality across Arkansas. While we can’t lend our support to the current version of Fayetteville’s proposed nondiscrimination ordinance because it stops short of full and equal protections for LGBT people, we fully plan to continue working with our friends and neighbors here on other efforts to bring about full equality for all LGBT Arkansans.”
Even without the HRC and despite the fact that anti-LGBTQ folks outspent the pro-LGBTQ camp by a 2-1 margin, the ordinance still passed.
It occurred to my while writing this piece that we the People often couch anti-gay movements in terms of religion and “traditional values,” when we should be calling it what it actually is: discrimination against LGBTQ people is a type of racism.
Merriam-Webster defines race as:
A class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics.
Let that sink in for a moment. By this definition, LGBTQ people are a unique race despite the fact that we come from all ethnic backgrounds. Which means that hatred and discrimination directed toward LGBTQ people is nothing more than another form of racism.
In short, if you hate this:
you are as racist as if you hated this:
ARKANSAS: Activists Celebrate As Fayetteville Voters Reject Duggar Family And Approve LGBT Rights Bill