The Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality, which is working to preserve Fayetteville’s new civil rights ordinance, posted the photo above on its Facebook page today. It commented:
This morning, we received a report of a vandalized Vote Against Repeal sign. Political signs are a form of free speech, and the NWA Center for Equality condemns both their vandalism and especially the use of hate speech in any form. While it is very disheartening to see, we know we live in a fair town that does not tolerate hatred, and we sincerely hope that this is an isolated incident.
If you see or experience any other vandalism or hate speech, document it, report it to the police, and let us know. Vote #AGAINSTRepeal #KeepFayettevilleFair
The ordinance discourages discrimination on account of, among others, age, gender, race, veterans status and gender identity and sexual orientation. The sexual orientation and gender identify protection are the controversial parts. Conservative “Christian” churches have led the fight to put next week’s referendum on the ballot to repeal the ordinance. They want to preserve the legal right to discriminate against gay people in housing, employment and public services. It is a matter of religious faith to be able to discriminate against such people, they say.
PS: The anti-gay crowd has also done a little cybertricking by buying a website name that would seem to represent Keep Fayetteville Fair and redirecting people who find it to the homophobes’ page.
UPDATE: The Keep Fayetteville Fair campaign to preserve the audience said later this wasn’t the only act of sign vandalism in the city. It urged opponents to refrain from “initimidation and hate tactics.” From their release:
“I saw the vandalism with my family this morning. I have very young children and now I have to explain to my kids why there is hate scribbled across a sign encouraging inclusion,” Michelle Bell, Fayetteville student and resident said. “I get to tell my kids that if they grow up and are LGBT we might no longer belong to a place that will accept who they are. My family moved to Fayetteville because it was a place of acceptance. I am going to keep fighting to keep Fayetteville fair.”