Graydon Carter, an active Young Democrat from Pocahontas, reports on a coalition’s efforts to get the Jonesboro City Council to consider a non-discrimination ordinance along the lines of the one adopted in Eureka Springs and repealed by vote in Fayetteville. No luck.
Carter said 30 to 35 people, including Young Democrats, members of the Gay Straight Alliance at Arkansas State University and others, attended Tuesday’s Council meeting to ask for consideration of such an ordinance. A member of the Council moved that the idea be sent to the council finance committee for study. The motion died for lack of a second.
Carter said the backers would “regroup” and talk about their next action. He said they wanted to make a statement about community “integrity” in advance of whatever fallout is likely from a state law taking effect in August that attempts to bar passage of local civil rights ordinances. Arkansas is the second state in the country to have such a law, AP said. We have also joined a list of states that have passed a law aiming at allowing people to invoke religion as an excuse for discrimination in employment, housing and commerce against gay people. Gov. Asa Hutchinson endorsed the effort saying it protected religion. He has decided not to issue a statement endorsing non-discrimination against gay people in state employment. As I noted earlier, he merely contemplated, but didn’t issue, a statement saying the state would comply with the law. Arkansas law allows discrimination against gay people.