The attorney general of Arkansas questions whether a voter-approved "anti-discrimination" ordinance passed by Fayetteville voters has legal standing.
Last year, voters in that northwest Arkansas city narrowly rolled back a city council-approved ordinance providing special rights for homosexuals and transgender, but this week approved – again, narrowly – another ordinance that has the same basic provisions.
Jerry Cox of the Family Council tells OneNewsNow the new ordinance will allow discrimination against people of faith "all in the name of equality and tolerance" – but he says it's anything but that.
"In fact, now pastors who don't want to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony I believe can be forced to do so – or at least made to pay a really high price for not doing that because they can be fined in court and they can be sued," he explains.
The ordinance exempts houses of worship, but not the pastor; and Christian business owners aren't protected from legal sanctions. But according to Cox, a major stumbling block awaits the ordinance.
"Arkansas Act 137 was passed just this year, and in that law it says statewide in Arkansas no local government can extend civil rights beyond our state civil rights law," he states. The state law doesn't include sexual orientation or gender identity.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued an opinion recently that local ordinances such as the one passed in Fayetteville are unenforceable. The newly approved ordinance is due to take effect November 7.
Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas.