More Arkansas local governments push for LGBT protections

As of yet, Arkansas' civil rights law doesn't include sexual orientation or gender identity.

As of yet, Arkansas' civil rights law doesn't include sexual orientation or gender identity.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Officials in Arkansas‘ most populous county and one of its most popular tourist destinations said Tuesday they’re considering prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, expanding the pushback against a new state law criticized as anti-gay.

A member of the Hot Springs city board proposed prohibiting the city and its vendors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, while a member of Pulaski County’s governing board said he’s drafting a similar ordinance.

The proposals are modeled after an ordinance approved by Little Rock last week and are aimed at challenging a state law intended to prevent local governments from expanding anti-discrimination protections to the LGBT community.

“It seems like the right thing to do,” said Becca Clark, the Hot Springs city board member who proposed the ordinance expected to come up for a vote next week. “What happened in the state Legislature this session concerned me. I just feel like they were working really hard to allow and protect the idea of discrimination against a particular class of people.”

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Clark unveiled the proposed ordinance at the board’s meeting Tuesday, with a final vote expected May 5.

Tyler Denton, a member of Pulaski County’s quorum court, said he’s finalizing a proposed non-discrimination ordinance that he hopes to bring up for a vote next month.

“I want it to be blatantly obvious that Pulaski County respects all people, accepts all people and is willing to do business with all people,” Denton said.

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