Arkansas Supreme Court Rules Against City’s LGBT Policy

Feb 23, 2017

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Today the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down a city’s ordinance that unlawfully added sexual orientation and gender identity. In the unanimous ruling, the court ruled that the City of Fayetteville violated state law by adding these two categories when state law did not include them. 

Arkansas’ civil rights law does not include sexual orientation or gender identity. The court ruled that a state anti-bullying law is not related to anti-discrimination laws and does not create newly protected classes. In February 2015, the legislature passed Act 137 that prohibits local governments from adding additional categories that are not included in the state law.

Virginia, like Arkansas, requires that non-discrimination categories be uniform and set at the state level. Next week, Liberty Counsel will be arguing before the Virginia Supreme Court where the Fairfax County School Board unlawfully added “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” and “gender expression” to the Board’s policies. Like Arkansas, Virginia law does not include these categories.

“The Arkansas Supreme Court’s ruling is on point with the Virginia law and other states that require non-discrimination categories to be set at the state level,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “It makes no sense to have competing and conflicting laws within a state. This is the same issue that I will argue next week before the Virginia Supreme Court. Moreover, adding gender identity to a non-discrimination law makes a mockery of the law. The law should not give legal sanction to a confused mind or to those intent on causing harm or invading the privacy of other citizens,” said Staver.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.