Eureka Springs City Council passes civil rights ordinance, sets stage for potential lawsuit | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Eureka Springs City Council passes civil rights ordinance, sets stage for potential lawsuit

Posted By on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 6:58 AM

click to enlarge DON'T TREAD ON EUREKA: The Ozarks city passes anit-discirmination ordinance ahead of pro-discrimination legislation.
  • DON'T TREAD ON EUREKA: The Ozarks city passes anit-discirmination ordinance ahead of pro-discrimination legislation.

The Eureka Springs City Council last night suspended the rules and hurriedly passed a civil rights ordinance that extends anti-discrimination protection to gay people in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Famously tolerant Eureka has a history of official actions supportive of gay people, including the domestic partnership registry, a symbolic hand of friendship to the many gay people who make Eureka s popular tourist destination.

Before long, you can watch the action on Eureka's YouTube channel, where all council meetings are recorded.

Eureka passed the ordinance hours after the state Senate approved Sen. Bart Hester's bill to ban local governments from passing such ordinances. The law was a response to a similar ordinance passed in Fayetteville and later repealed by voters.

I wrote yesterday that state enforcement of such a law (which could be passed in the House this week) presents a legal question in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that it was unconstitutional for Colorado to ban laws to protect gay people. Hester's bill likely was written with that in mind, by not mentioning homosexuality specifically. It says  that cities and counties may not add civil rights protections not included in state law. It is legal under state law to discriminate against gay people. But the object of discrimination —- LGBT people — is clear in the sponsor's long history of anti-gay sentiment, including a threat to withhold money from the University of Arkansas because its chancellor criticized the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce's opposition to the civil rights ordinance.

Sen. Keith Ingram also mentioned in debate yesterday another legal problem I'd noted with this law: It bars special preferences of any sort.

Little Rock, he noted, gives some special preferences in bidding to local companies. Many cities offer special prices to city attractions for families and the elderly. All present potential legal problems under the law.

The possibility of losing a lawsuit — particularly in the name of religion — has never deterred the Arkansas legislature before.

UPDATE: Blue Hog Report, written by lawyer Matt Campbell, expands on the legal problems with this bill.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (14)

Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-14 of 14

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • University of Texas removes Confederate statues

    Confederate statuary was removed overnight from a prominent spot on the University of Texas campus because they symbolize white supremacy and neo-Nazism, the university president said.
    • Aug 21, 2017
  • Eclipse day. Woodstock?

    I was amused by the excitement of a NASA scientist over today's eclipse, as reported by CNN.
    • Aug 21, 2017
  • Open line and Civil War update

    More Confederacy defenders were on hand in Bentonville against imagined threats to a one of hte Confederate statues put up long after the Civil War to spin a narrative about the noble Lost Cause.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Al Gore remembers Dale Bumpers

    Former Vice President Al Gore, a former U.S. Senate colleague of Dale Bumpers, sent a statement on Bumpers' death Friday:
    • Jan 3, 2016
  • City Board votes to table homeless feeding ordinance for 8 weeks, study with commission

    The Little Rock Board of Directors voted tonight to table for eight weeks an ordinance that homeless advocates say would severely limit the ability of charities to feed homeless people in city parks. Before the ordinance was punted, Vice Mayor Kathy Webb proposed a nine-member commission to study the issue and make recommendations to the board.
    • May 16, 2017
  • In Little Rock, Marco Rubio sells American exceptionalism

    This is Rubio's axiomatic answer to Donald Trump's insistence that he and he alone will Make America Great Again: America is the greatest, always has been.
    • Feb 22, 2016

People who saved…

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.
  • Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

    Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today.

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation