Eureka Springs set to vote on discrimination protections for gays and transgenders

(Editor: Pam – The vote was 70% in favor of maintaining the anti lbgt discrimination ordinances.)

Associated Press in Eureka Springs, Arkansas via – 11 May, 2015

City which became first place in Arkansas to allow same-sex marriage is split over anti-discrimination law

Nestled in the hills of northwest Arkansas, Eureka Springs has long relished its dual personalities – known for its play depicting Jesus’ final days and a 20-metre-tall Christ of the Ozarks statue as well as its reputation as a gay-friendly tourist destination, bolstered by being the first city in the state to allow same-sex marriage.

That balance of identities will be tested today, when voters decide whether to repeal a recent local ordinance that extends discrimination protections to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

It could set the stage for a broader legal fight over a new state law aimed at preventing Arkansas cities and counties from expanding discrimination protections, but opponents of the ordinance are casting the election as a fight for the soul of the city of roughly 2,000 people.
The ordinance approved by Eureka Springs’ city council in February prohibits the city and private businesses from discriminating against someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. City officials gave it the green light in direct response to Arkansas lawmakers prohibiting cities and counties from barring discrimination on a basis not contained in state law.

Already, Little Rock and Hot Springs have approved more scaled-back discrimination ordinances that only apply to city employees and vendors. But Eureka Springs’ move is the most direct challenge to the state prohibition.

(Editior: Pam – one of our members Roxie Howard lives close to Eureka Springs. Also, I grew up 50 miles away from Eureka Springs. This town is a contradiction of very liberal and very conservative. What caught my eye was that this vote is being reported by a major Chinese news organization. I will report the election results tomorrow. )