The Arkansas Supreme Court has struck down a Fayetteville, Ark. a voter-approved ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The court’s decision was based on a state law that prevents cities from passing protections that aren’t guaranteed by state law.
The court didn’t rule on whether the underlying law was constitutional, only that the city ordinance conflicted with the state law.
Fayetteville’s city attorney will return to court, challenging the constitutionality of the state law, according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
Human Right Campaign today released a statement blasting the state Supreme Court decision:
“Let’s be clear, the state’s pre-emption 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.”