The fight for equal rights in Fayetteville | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The fight for equal rights in Fayetteville

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 6:47 AM

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The Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality dismisses as a political ploy the 11th-hour lawsuit filed yesterday by foes of a proposed Fayetteville civil rights ordinance to stop the Sept. 8 election. A hearing is scheduled on the lawsuit Friday morning, with early voting beginning today. Said the Center.

The NWA Center for Equality strongly denounces attempt by Protect Fayetteville, an anti-LGBT group opposing the Uniform Civil Right Protection Ordinance, to disrupt the September 8th election.

“For months people across Fayetteville have been uniting behind the basic belief that everyone deserves a life free from fear and discrimination.

It is hurtful that a small minority continues to believe discrimination is acceptable and should be legal. This eleventh hour attempt to disrupt this election is a cowardly stunt to silence the people of Fayetteville.

We call for the immediate dismissal of this ridiculous suit, and we urge Fayetteville voters to stand with us as early voting begins and through election day, September 8th.”

The campaign for the ordinance is much stronger — thanks to a watered-down ordinance and support from previous opponents — than the campaign for an ordinance defeated last year. The lawsuit is unlikely to stop the election, based on past precedent, but it does give a little free publicity to the opponents' spurious complaint that their religious liberty is infringed if the law prevents discrimination against gay people in housing, employment and public accommodation. The ordinance has a broad exception for churches and religious organizations.




For Fayetteville, the group working to pass the ordinance, issued this statement:

“We want to be clear that this election is completely legal and will go forth as planned. We encourage everyone to early vote tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 1 through Friday, Sept. 4 at the courthouse from 8 AM to 4:30 PM. Or you may vote at ANY polling location on Election Day, Sept. 8, from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM.”

“With that being said, Protect Fayetteville’s attempt to halt an election at the eleventh hour is an affront to the democratic process. We say let the people vote! These injunctions are another underhanded attempt to confuse and mislead voters by the Protect Fayetteville campaign. This desperate act is a ploy to suppress voter turnout from a campaign that knows they are going to lose.”

“This is a frivolous lawsuit and a waste of taxpayer money. Why does Protect Fayetteville want to deprive the citizens of Fayetteville their constitutional right to vote? We hope the injunctions will be dismissed out of hand by Judge Martin. Protect Fayetteville is standing on shaky legal ground and is grasping at straws.”

“It is ironic and telling that Protect Fayetteville is asking their supporters to go out and vote in an election they are trying to overturn. If they believe in the argument put forth in their lawsuit, why are they encouraging their supporters to vote in this election they believe is illegal? It shows they are trying to confuse supporters of #5781 while encouraging their own, because the election results will stand.”

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