Friday, February 24, 2017

Arkansas Supreme Court Invalidates City's LGBT Anti-Discrimination Law

In Protect Fayetteville v. City of Fayetteville, (AR Sup. Ct., Feb. 23, 2017), the Arkansas Supreme Court held that the City of Fayetteville is precluded by state statute from extending its anti-discrimination provisions to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. The Arkansas' Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act provides:
A county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state shall not adopt or enforce an ordinance, resolution, rule, or policy that creates a protected classification or prohibits discrimination on a basis not contained in state law.
Fayetteville claimed that its expanded non-discrimination law is permitted because state laws on bullying, domestic abuse shelters and amendment of birth certificates include reference to sexual orientation and gender identity. The Court held, however, that municipalities are precluded from providing non-discrimination protection to categories beyond race, religion, national origin, gender and disability that are included in the Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993.  Arkansas Matters reports on the decision.