Update: On September 26, a Washington County Circuit Judge denied the state’s attempt to block enforcement of Fayetteville’s ordinance while the litigation proceeds and ordered state officials to work with the ACLU of Arkansas to obtain documents and testimony needed to make its case. 

Background: 

On April 25, 2017, the ACLU filed a motion to intervene in the case on behalf of three Fayetteville residents and PFLAG of Fayetteville/Northwest Arkansas, arguing that the Arkansas legislature’s attempts to nullify Fayetteville’s local non discrimination ordinance violates their right to equal protection under the law and would leave them vulnerable to discrimination. 

On February 24, 2015, in response to efforts by the City of Fayetteville to enact civil-rights protections for their LGBT citizens, the Arkansas State Legislature passed Act 137, which sought to nullify and prevent all municipal ordinances that prohibit discrimination on the basis of characteristics that are not protected by state law.

In June 2015, the Fayetteville City Council approved a nondiscrimination ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, which voters subsequently approved. Earlier this year the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision and ruled that the Fayetteville ordinance was incompatible with Act 137.

The case has now returned to the trial court, with only the City of Fayetteville’s constitutional challenge to Act 137 remaining unresolved. On May 16, 2017, the Washington County Circuit Court granted the ACLU-AR and ACLU LGBT Project's Motion to Intervene in the case on behalf of PFLAG of Fayetteville/Northwest Arkansas and three LGBT residents of Fayetteville. As residents of Fayetteville, Anthony Clark, Noah Meeks and Liz Petray receive direct protection from the legal protections of Fayetteville Ordinance 5781 and are seeking a declaratory judgment that Act 137 is unconstitutional.

Date filed

April 25, 2017

Court

Washington Co. Circuit Court

Status

In state trial court

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