In the big pit of suck that is the state of Arkansas, certain cities are trying to create an oasis of safety with local civil rights laws that encompass LGBT people. At the state level, though, judges have decided against it.
ABC News reports that the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled against a city ordinance that bans discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity on Thursday. The state’s current civil rights law does not include any protections for gay or transgender people. Fayetteville and mountain resort Eureka Springs both attempted to enact laws protecting LGBT groups, and so did Arkansas capitol Little Rock and Hot Springs to a more moderate degree, including only those LGBT folks in government agencies. The justices unanimously struck down Fayetteville’s Ordinance 5781, which sets the tone for how these other cities’ laws will be handled:
“(Fayetteville’s ordinance) violates the plain wording of Act 137 by extending discrimination laws in the city of Fayetteville to include two classifications not previously included under state law,” the court said. “This necessarily creates a nonuniform nondiscrimination law and obligation in the city of Fayetteville that does not exist under state law.”
A Washington County judge originally upheld Fayetteville’s ordinance, saying it didn’t violate state law, reports Arkansas Matters. Rather than vote on the law’s constitutionality, the Supreme Court returned the case to that judge to determine its constitutionality, with the understanding that according to the state of Arkansas, LGBT people are not protected anywhere.