It is clear from the statutory language and the Ordinance's language that there is a direct inconsistency between state and municipal law and that the Ordinance is an obstacle to the objectives and purposes set forth in the General Assembly's Act and therefore it can not stand.
Today, HRC blasted the Arkansas Supreme Court for striking down a local ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This violated the plain wording of Act 137 by extending discrimination laws in the City of Fayetteville to include two classifications not previously included under state law. This preemption law is a blatant attack on LGBTQ people and takes away the right of communities to protect their citizens when the state government will not.
Thursday, the Arkansas Supreme Court justices reversed that judge's ruling, saying that the Arkansas Civil Rights law doesn't protect against discrimination on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Arkansas Civil Rights Act does not mention "sexual orientation" or "gender identity".
The decision reverses the decision of a lower district court, which that upheld the ordinance despite state law, and remands the case for further action.
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Fayetteville City Attorney Kit Williams told The Associated Press that he'll shift his focus to challenging the constitutionality of the state's law.
Arkansas' Act 137 (PDF), titled the Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act, states that its objective is "ensuring that businesses, organization, and employers doing business in the state are subject to uniform nondiscrimination laws and obligations".
Fayetteville was one of a number of cities that passed expanded non-discrimination ordinances after the February 2015 passage of law preventing the adoption of any law that "creates a protected classification or prohibits discrimination on a basis not contained in state law". HRC Arkansas continues to work to advance equality for LGBTQ Arkansans who have no state level protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations. "This is the same issue that I will argue next week before the Virginia Supreme Court", said Staver.
However, the Arkansas Supreme Court did not weigh in on the constitutionality of that state law in the decision and at a press conference Thursday, Fayetteville City Attorney Kit Williams said that he meant to fight the state law's constitutionality in a lower court, according to the AP.
Besides Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina enacted similar bans on local anti-discrimination laws.