UPDATE: Election day voting overcame a strong early voting campaign and Fayetteville voters repealed a civil rights ordinance 51.6-48.3 It had been controversial because its protection extended to gay people among many others.
FOR repeal 7,523
AGAINST repeal 7,040
The early and absentee vote has been tallied in the referendum on Fayetteville Ordinance 119, which extends civil rights protection to many classes of people including, particularly, gay people.
FOR repeal 2,024
AGAINST repeal 2,593
The University of Arkansas effort to depress early voting — legislative pressure prompted Dean Danny Pugh to stop a shuttle bus service to the polls — apparently didn’t do terrible damage.
I’m stunned. I don’t think this is an election that the early voting necessarily predicts outcome, but it’s a good start.
Several hundred cities have passed similar measures. The hate groups such as the Family Council spent huge sums and huge church effort to defeat the ordinance. The Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, led by convicted felon Steve Clark, also threw its weight against the ordinance.
The ugly jerks have already been heard from. Democracy? To hell with that. Sen. Bart Hester, the Cave Springs senator who’s already threatened reprisal against the University of Arkansas for Chancellor David Gearhart’s half-hearted support of the ordinance, sent the following message after early votes were announced:
Bart Hester @BartHester 5m5 minutes ago
Regardless of Fay Repeal effort the AR legislature will pass legislation to repeal this type of ordinance. I suspect with a super majority
Yes. Let the pro-business Arkansas legislature tell the world of creative people that we intend to discriminate against gay people. The Ghosts of Faubus live.
The actual election day polling closed the gap. Poll watchers for the campaign to preserve the ordinance said before the the final tally that it was very close (they could check numbers posted at each polling place) but were waiting nervously for the final count.
The huzzahs came quickly from evangelical Republicans from outside Fayetteville who’d worked hard to preserve legal discrimination against gay people when the final vote was announced. Example, Rep. Bob Ballinger:
Glory to God!
In my Bible, Jesus talked a whole lot more about helping the poor and sick than holding down gay people.