On Sept. 8, Fayetteville returns to the polls to vote on Ordinance 5781, another try at an anti-discrimination measure to protect LGBTQ residents from housing and employment discrimination. As with last year’s battle over its predecessor, Ordinance 119, the next few weeks are going to be contentious ones.
On Tuesday, several individuals from “For Fayetteville” — the group formed to promote the civil rights ordinance — were forced to leave a rally for the opposition, “Protect Fayetteville,” at the University Baptist Church.
Tuesday’s rally featured Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Oregon couple who were fined for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in violation of their state’s anti-discrimination law.
Fayetteville police were eventually called to escort the ordinance supporters off the property, as shown in this clip from KNWA.
“We were hoping we could come and listen and just get some insight into the opposition’s perspective,” said Danielle Weatherby, a supporter of Ordinance 5781 who’s spoken with the Times before about the legal side of LGBTQ issues.
Weatherby and the other ordinance supporters pointed out that an open invitation to attend the rally and hear the Kleins’ speech was publicly extended by Alderman John LaTour at a recent city council meeting, as documented in this video posted on For Fayetteville’s Facebook page. (The clip also captures some unkind words about trans people from a Protect Fayetteville supporter.)
“This was NOT a protest. They were NOT disruptive.They wanted to listen to the Kleins speak. They were treated with aggression and disrespect,” For Fayetteville said on Facebook.