Fayetteville erases non-discrimination ordinance

James Patrick Carraghan

James Patrick Carraghan is an award-winning activist, writer, librarian and student at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He spends his free time gardening, hording books and flirting. You can follow him on tumblr at http://thelibrarynevercloses.tumblr.com/

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The town of Fayetteville, Arkansas has scrapped a non-discrimination ordinance which included protections for LGBT+ people. The ordinance had previously gone into effect on 20 September, 2014, after the council voted in a 6-2 decision to support the ordinance. Fayetteville was the first city in Arkansas to have a non-discrimination ordinance which protected LGBT+ people.

The ordinance grabbed national and worldwide attention when reality TV star Michele Duggar (the matriarch on 19 Kids and Counting) recorded a ‘robo-call’ voicemail message which included transphobic remarks in an attempt to prevent the ordinance from being passed.

‘I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls,’ was one of several statements made in the message which City Attorney Kit Williams called ‘Nothing more than fear-mongering.’

After the ordinance was passed, opponents began working on a new bill – one which erased the protections set in place for LGBT+ people. The Duggar family donated $10,000 to three opponents of the ordinance. The ordinance was repealed in a special election held on 9 December. The vote to repeal won by 483 votes.

Angry LGBT+ activists and supporters have pushed for 19 Kids and Counting to be taken off the air in response to the Duggar family’s comments on LGBT+ issues. As of now, 19 Kids and Counting is still airing in the USA.

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