Attorney General Leslie Rutledge went on WBUR, the NPR station in Boston, to defend discrimination — specifically her fight to overturn a Fayetteville nondiscrimination ordinance. It’s her duty to defend state law, she said repeatedly in her own defense.
As I’ve said before — and the circuit judge has ruled — there’s a strong argument that the anti-home-rule law Rutledge says she’s defending doesn’t apply to the nondiscrimination ordinance because it does not create new classes of protected people.
Isn’t Arkansas in a difficult position defending an anti-gay statute? Rutledge said the state statute is clear. And the legislature or the people by petition can change it.
Rutledge was asked about the likelihood that a business someday would use the state law to discriminate? Her answer: “I hope no one is ever discriminated against for any reason.” Which isn’t exactly an answer.
The real news is that Arkansas — both because of the anti-home-rule law and the law allowing discrimination by anyone claiming a religious motivation — is being tied to North Carolina, Mississippi and other states that have officially declared discrimination to be the law. It has had damaging impact particularly in North Carolina. It could happen here, too.