In what is considered by many to be a huge blow to this town's Civil Rights Ordinance, the Arkansas State Supreme Court found that the City of Fayetteville’s law (meant to extend protections of civil rights to LGBTQ individuals) is unconstitutional.
If you know anything about this case, it came before voters twice: once in a special election in December 2014 to veto the City Council’s decision to enforce the ordinance (then 119) and when voters supported the veto by a thin margin (52-48 percent). Many thought the language on the ballot was confusing. After that vote, several people organized another group that came to be known as “For Fayetteville,” who were able to vote this by the council again and it passed in September 2015 by another thin margin (53-47 percent). Legal wrangling has gone on since the passing of the ordinance, but I should mention my thoughts on this ordinance, those figures who helped to pass it, and the future that lies ahead.
I voted at the ballot box to keep this ordinance, largely because I did not support the Duggar Family influencing our elections. However, my position has always been that a business owner has the right to refuse service and the free market should decide what happens to that business. I call this the “Pretty Woman” rule. I should be allowed to, as a business owner, refuse service based on my own religious and moral standing. Think about it: if the Westboro Baptist Church wanted a cake from me that had a message I do not support, I should be allowed to refuse their business just as anyone else should be able to.
There are other problems with the ordinance today that are more introspective than policy driven. Lately, the discrimination that exists among the LGBTQ community is consistently perpetuated from those within the circle and their far left allies who have banded together to point fingers at others to distract from their own bigotry. As a candidate for public office in this town, I was smeared, mischaracterized, and trolled by many in the LGBTQ community and their allies for conservative views I previously stated and still stand by. There were no calls by leaders in these pro-equality groups or by anyone in the community for civility and respect. In fact, many at the top lead the charge in the smearing and silently supported several attacks--some even racist and homophobic.
What the LGBTQ community at-large in Fayetteville has done is ditched equality stances, trading them in for the exact type of discrimination and disrespect they claimed this ordinance would solve. These groups (and the elected/appointed city officials with whom they reciprocate support) appear to be so in bed with other interests, like development, that they forgot their main goal: protecting the rights of all LGBTQ individuals.
The culture in the community and within these groups reeks of the sort of limited views and bullying that ran rampant at the national level of the Human Rights Campaign. Many people in and out of the area ditched financial and grassroots support of HRC after a lengthy internal autopsy revealed multiple issues with sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and racism at their national headquarters. These issues also exist in Fayetteville within the LGBTQ mafia, related organizations, and even elected or later-appointed officials who want their exclusive rights granted only to them and their heterosexual progressive (and pseudo-progressive) counterparts.
These groups pretend to be equal rights champions, but they are actually leftist extremists that do not want equality and respect for all, just for their own agenda. Anything that runs counter to them or their allies is grounds for an attack, including those like me and others who identify with those letters. Be they local or national, these extremists have made it clear that they want nothing more than to destroy the livelihoods and reputations of those who have legitimate questions about religious freedom, be it political smearing, doxxing, physical threats, or even contacting their employers for termination. As we move into 2020, the support for this movement is slowly thinning. Many who once supported civility and protections for LGBTQ individuals realize that thanks to the loudest, rudest voices in the movement that many have already achieved the equality they claim they do not have.
As I see it, there is no need for this ordinance. Period. It underestimates the will of the people, it undermines religious freedom, and it is a vanity measure for these groups to keep their bigoted, unnecessary stronghold on our town. Looking to the future, it is important that all Fayettevillians express to elected officials and these extremists that the right to equality, a separation of church and state, and discrimination protections should be extended to all residents regardless of sexuality, gender identity, race, religion, and even political views.
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.