The Arkansas Legislature passed a measure that prohibits cities from expanding state anti-discrimination laws.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Arkansas legislators are apprently FED UP with being told who they can or cannot discriminate against. Right before they left for the weekend, the Arkansas House of Representatives voted to pass SB202, a bill that slyly declares its intention to promote uniformity in anti-discrimination laws. It does this by banning cities from enacting laws that expand on the state’s anti-discrimination laws, which in their current state do not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender. The bill effectively allows businesses to deny services to LGBTQ people.
The Arkansas House passed the bill at a vote of 58-21. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson will reportedly let the bill pass, but he will be withholding his signature, a gesture that suggests he’s not totally on-board with the bill. Arkansas State Sen. Bart Hester (R), who sponsored the bill, says he just wants equal rights for everyone, and not just gay people, who apparently have tons of “special rights” that Hester wants in on.
“I am singled out as a politician. I am singled out because I am married to one woman,” Hester told Buzzfeed News, in what one imagines to be the tone of a petulant child. “I want everyone in the LGBT community to have the same rights I do. I do not want them to have special rights that I do not have.”
Arkansas lawmakers were apparently infuriated by a civil rights ordinance passed by the Fayetteville City Council that would criminalize the discrimination of LGBTQ people by landlords and business. The law also protected those who’ve been subject to prejudice on the basis of race, religion, gender, and age. Fayetteville voters, however, overturned the measure.