Fayetteville, Ark. passes LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance

map_of_fayetteville_arEarly Wednesday morning the Fayetteville, Ark. City Council voted 6-2 to approve a measure protecting LGBT residents and visitors from discrimination in public facilities, housing and employment. It also creates a civil rights administrative position, according to NWO.

The city is the first in Arkansas to add such protections. At the state level, Arkansas does not protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

The ordinance was not without its detractors.

BuzzFeed reports that Michelle Duggar of TV’s Nineteen Kids and Counting, a prominent backer of anti-LGBT Republican presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Penn.), blasted a robocall alleging that the ordinance would “allow men — yes I said men — to use women’s and girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only.”

Of the three amendments proposed for the ordinance, two passed. The first amendment extended discrimination on religious grounds to include all tax-exempt organizations. The second clarifies that no one may enter a men’s or women’s restrooms with illegal intentions. The third, which failed on a 6-2 vote, would have called for a referendum vote.

“I see a day when we don’t put tags and labels on people and we’re all citizens under the same umbrella of the Constitution of the United States and we all have the same equal rights,” Mayor Lioneld Jordan said after the vote.

The language also adds protections “from discrimination based on real or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, familial status, marital status, socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation, disability and veteran status.”

It goes into effect Sept. 20.

—  James Russell

AFA says allowing 10-year-old to be Pride parade grand marshal is 'child abuse'

Will Phillips
Will Phillips

Yesterday, we told you about 10-year-old Will Phillips being chosen as grand marshal of the Northwest Arkansas Gay Pride Parade in his hometown of Fayetteville. Phillips is the young man who made news last fall when he refused to stand in class to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, because the pledge promises “liberty and justice for all” and, as he says, it’s a lie because LGBT people aren’t given equal rights in this country.

Well, leave it up to our old buddy Tim Wildmon over at the American Family Association to say something egregiously stupid and outrageous about Will being given this honor.

—  admin

Arkansas boy who refused to say Pledge named grand marshal for gay Pride parade

Last November, we told you here on Instant Tea about Will Foster, a 10-year-old boy from Fayetteville, Ark., who got in trouble because he refused to stand up with the rest of his elementary school class and say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Will Phillips
Will Phillips

Will said he wouldn’t do it because he believed that same-sex couples should have equal rights, including the right to marry, and because it would be lying to say the Pledge, which promises “liberty and justice for all,” when he knew for a fact that didn’t apply to LGBT people.

Since making headlines last fall, Will has been all over the country, his dad says, talking to “literally thousands of people” and recording public service announcements promoting LGBT equality.

Now, organizers of the Northwest Arkansas Gay Pride parade in his hometown are honoring Will Foster for his commitment to equality by naming him grand marshal of their parade.

The parade will take place in Fayetteville, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Go here and watch a new video interview with Will, in which he declares, “It’s wrong for anyone to be treated differently just because of the way they were born.” What’s he looking for? “Full equality.”

He also notes that, having attended the parade before, he knows there will likely be protesters at some point along the parade route? How will he respond to them? “Smile wider and wave at them.”

—  admin