City Council members in Fayetteville,
Arkansas on Tuesday approved a gay-inclusive anti-discrimination
ordinance after debating the measure for nearly 10 hours.
The ordinance, approved with a 6-2
vote, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender
identity, socioeconomic background, marital status and veteran status
in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations.
An effort to put the measure up to a
public vote was defeated during Tuesday's meeting.
Opponents of the ordinance launched a
campaign urging citizens to speak out at the hearing.
Michelle Duggar, star of the TLC
reality series 19 Kids and Counting, narrated a robo-call
placed Monday to area residents.
“I don't believe the citizens of
Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions
that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private
areas that are reserved for women and girls,” Duggar
said in the call. “I doubt that Fayetteville parents would
stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to
be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space.”
The campaign to derail the ordinance
was paid for by FreeFayetteville.org, whose website redirects
visitors to the website of the Arkansas Family Council, the group
which worked to approve the state's constitutional amendment defining
marriage as a heterosexual union.
Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan said
during Tuesday's hearing that he strongly supports the measure.
“We have three classes of people that
are not protected by the 1964 Civil Rights Act and I think that's
wrong,” he said. “I believe that equality, diversity and
inclusion are the driving forces for all freedoms for everyone and
without equality, diversity and inclusion, there is no freedom for
anyone. And I'm going to stand for that freedom as the mayor of this