Arkansas Supreme Court justices voted unanimously today to repeal a Fayetteville city ordinance that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The state challenged this local ordinance by asserting that it violated Act 137, which requires that all counties in the state practice uniform anti-discriminatory regulations, according to the court’s opinion. The act was passed Feb. 24, 2015, and went into effect on July 22, 2015.
The Fayetteville City Council approved Ordinance 5781 on July 16, 2015, allowing equality and nondiscriminatory measures to be put in place for the LGBT community, leading to the state supreme court’s ruling, according to the Arkansas Supreme Court opinion.
Arkansas state law does not classify members of the LGBT community as a demographic that needs protection against discrimination.
Danielle Weatherby, an author of the ordinance, said she was disappointed about the decision.
“I believe the decision is incorrect, and our ordinance complies with Act 137. And I also believe that Act 137 was unconstitutional, under equal protection grounds,” Weatherby said.
Kit Williams, Fayetteville city attorney, agrees with Weatherby and said that he will be shifting his attention towards the lower courts to contest the constitutionality of the act. “They can’t, by not using express terms, accomplish the same result which is truly what their intent was, which was to prevent the city from enacting protections for its gay and lesbian residents,” Williams said in an interview with CBS.
Weatherby also expressed that she was not done yet with the issue.
“This will be a cause that I continue to fight for for the rest of my career. I believe equality, on all grounds, is much needed for Fayetteville,” Weatherby said.