Hot! Arkansas Strikes Down Anti-Discrimination Law

The local law protected transgender people from discrimination

The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down a local law in the city of Fayetteville that protects people from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Under Arkansas’ current state law, it is illegal for local governments to pass anti-discrimination laws that include classes not included under the existing state law.

According to NPR, Arkansas made it illegal in February 2015 for “a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state” to adopt any law that “creates a protected classification or prohibits discrimination on a basis not contained in state law.”

Fayetteville passed an ordinance in June 2015 called “An Ordinance To Ensure Uniform Nondiscrimination Protections Within The City of Fayetteville For Groups Already Protected To Varying Degrees Throughout State Law.”

However, the Supreme Court ruled against the law and wrote, “The Ordinance specifically states that its purpose is to ‘extend’ discrimination to include ‘sexual orientation and gender identity.’ In essence, [the city ordinance] is a municipal decision to expand the provisions of the Arkansas Civil Rights Act to include persons of a particular sexual orientation and gender identity. This violates the plain wording of [the state law] by extending discrimination laws in the City of Fayetteville to include two classifications not previously included under state law.”

Arkansas is one of the few states where the local government is at odds with the state government. NPR reported that Charlotte, N.C., also passed a law protecting LGBT people from discrimination which was abruptly banned by the N.C government.

Read more here

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