Fayetteville council votes 6-2 to approve controversial gender identity and sexual orientation ordinance
Arkansas Baptist News
FAYETTEVILLE – By a vote of 6-2, Fayetteville became the first Arkansas city to approve a controversial ordinance protecting gender identity and sexual orientation Tuesday, Aug. 19.
As a part of the decision, the council will create a new position to enforce the rules of the ordinance. The position, called the civil rights administrator, will investigate discriminatory claims, serve as mediator between parties and recommend prosecution, if necessary.
Fayetteville Fireman Chief Kyle Curry said 350 people – the maximum number allowed in the building – crowded city hall for the council meeting. Additionally, dozens more people formed lines circling the block around the building. Proponents of the ordinance wore red, while those opposed wore purple.
An ordinance protecting the rights of homosexuals, transgender persons and other minorities is long overdue, some said during an extended period of debate; while others countered that the legislation forces churches and religious organizations to change their beliefs about homosexuality and violate individual conscience.
Following 10 hours of debate, Ordinance 119 passed 6-2 at 3:20 a.m. Wednesday morning.