The Fayetteville City Clerk‘s office has certified that enough signatures were gathered to trigger a special election on Fayetteville’s new civil rights ordinance, the Fayetteville Flyer reports. The effort to force a popular vote on the ordinance, led by a Repeal 119, a church-led group, gathered 5,714 signatures. Petitioners needed 4,905; the City Clerk’s office began certifying the signatures last week and stopped at the end of the day Friday once enough signatures had been validated.
The ordinance to discourage discrimination in housing and employment passed in the City Council 6-2 last month. The vote came after 10 hours of discussion, with many conservatives furious because the classes of people protected included gay and transgender people. A number raised specious mixed-bathroom panic; Rep. Randy Alexander of Springfield also argued that some people believe themselves to be dogs.
The special election will be held either Dec. 9 of Jan. 13 and cost between $20,000 and $30,000.
A “human dignity” ordinance protecting gay city employees was repealed by voters in 1998. Backers of civil rights hope for better this time, particularly with support from Mayor Lioneld Jordan.