Earlier this year, Fayetteville, Arkansas passed an anti-discrimination ordinance that “would protect LGBT citizens from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.” The measure gained attention in large part due to the efforts of Michelle Duggar, who recorded a vicious transphobic robocall, equating trans women with child molesters, in order to get people to vote against it. Despite her efforts, the ordinance passed.
Camille Beredjick noted on the blog earlier this month that this “civil rights ordinance has brought out some people’s least civil sides.” At the time, Fayetteville voters were considering a repeal of the ordinance, and opponents of equality were engaging in some hardcore fear-mongering tactics.
Well, those tactics seemed to have paid off. During a special election this Tuesday,
… [t]hose in favor of repeal got 52% of the vote with 7,523 ballots cast. Those in favor of keeping the ordinance got 48% of the vote with 7,040 ballots cast.
While this news is certainly unwelcome to advocates for equality, Fayetteville minister and repeal champion Duncan Campbell “said the outcome of the vote indicates the residents of Fayetteville want it to be a free city.”
“We wanted to repeal the ordinance because we didn’t believe it made Fayetteville a fairer city or a freer city,” Campbell said. “It did just the opposite. It was called the Civil Rights Ordinance, but it was misnamed. It was an ordinance that actually took away civil rights and freedom from people. It criminalized civil behavior. It didn’t accomplish the stated purpose of the ordinance and it was crafted by an outside group, it wasn’t something Fayetteville residents put together.”
Which sounds like classic religispeak for “I want the ‘freedom’ to limit others’ freedoms based on my religious beliefs!”
You know, the new definition of “religious freedom.”