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Arkansas cities rebel against state laws, seek to protect against discrimination

Arkansas cities rebel against state laws, seek to protect against discrimination

Arkansas’ state capital of Little Rock has just passed legislation protecting its citizens against state legislation. As reported in news outlets including the Associated Press and picked up by news media including  The Colorado Springs Gazette, a 7-2 vote in city council passed an ordinance “to prohibit the city and companies contracted with it from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity, challenging a new Arkansas law criticized as anti-gay.”

“‘I think we’re sending a message that we’re a welcoming community, that we’re diverse, that we realize that’s good for business, that we value all of our citizens,’ says City Director Kathy Webb, the sponsor of the proposal.

Webb herself was the first openly gay member of the Arkansas Legislature.

Little Rock is just one of a number of Arkansas communities that are looking at ways to respond to the state law with legislation of their own:

The next fight over the anti-discrimination restrictions comes May 12, when residents of Eureka Springs – a popular tourist destination in northwest Arkansas – will vote on an ordinance prohibiting the city and businesses from discriminating against LGBT people. Eureka Springs’ city council approved the ordinance in February, as state lawmakers were considering the limits on local protections, and later called a referendum on whether to keep the measure in place.

Posted by Cara Ellen Modisett

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