FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) -- After nine hours of debate, Fayetteville City Council approved a civil rights ordinance after nine hours of debate that some are saying is controversial.
Our partner KFSM reports the ordinance passed 6-2 Tuesday night which will "prohibit local businesses and entities from discriminating against customers and others based on gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity and other factors."
The ordinance also creates a new position of civil rights administration who will enforce the ordinance. Ordinance violations could result in a $500 fine.
When the debate was opened, KFSM reports that several transgendered men and women spoke up saying that this will help them feel safer and also have better job security, while local church leaders and residents said this could bring up "frivolous lawsuits" that could hurt local businesses.
Read more on this story from KFSM: http://link.kfsm.com/1AwuICj
In response, Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement, saying:
"This is another example of government officials thinking they know better than their citizens. The People of Fayetteville turned out in droves to oppose this proposal. Alderman Tennant suggested referring the ordinance for a popular vote this November to let the people decide for themselves if this would be good for Fayetteville. Other members of the council said this ordinance is not the kind of thing voters should get to decide. I wonder what makes them think citizens are qualified to vote for lawmakers, but not for laws."
Cox said his group will continue to monitor the situation in Fayetteville and any consequences that arise as a result of the ordinance passing.