The ACLU of Arkansas has moved to intervene in a lawsuit aimed at preventing Fayetteville from extending civil rights protection to LGBT people.
Supporters of legalized discrimination on account of sexual orientation won an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling that the city of Fayetteville’s local civil rights ordinance was barred by a state law aimed at preventing local protections for gay people. But that decision didn’t reach the question of constitutionality of the state law. It was clearly aimed — if not expressed in specific terms — at protecting legal discrimination against gay people in housing, employment and public services.
The ACLU wants to intervene in the state circuit court lawsuit on behalf of PFLAG of Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas and three Fayetteville residents — Anthony Clark, Noah Meeks and Liz Petray. They argue that they receive protection from the local ordinance and seek a declaratory judgment that the state law is unconstitutional. They say the legislative attempt to nullify the ordinance violates their right to equal protection and leaves them vulnerable to discrimination. As a simple matter of fact, they are correct. As a matter of law? The current Arkansas Supreme Court has often demonstrated it mostly sees the law as whatever the legislature intended. And the legislature, make no mistake, intended to discriminate. In some courts, that has been viewed as unconstitutional.