Arkansas lawmaker’s gay brother speaks out on bill to ban LGBT rights ordinances

Arkansas lawmaker’s gay brother speaks out on bill to ban LGBT rights ordinances

The openly gay brother of an Arkansas state lawmaker is speaking out over his brother’s vote in favor of a bill that would prohibit LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances local municipalities.

Donald Collins (left) and Arkansas state Rep. Charlie Collins.
Donald Collins (left) and Arkansas state Rep. Charlie Collins.

KFSM-TV reports that the letter, written by Donald Collins on Feb. 14, is described as a “letter to the Arkansas GLBT Community and their extended families and friends.”

Donald Collins, who wrote the letter on his one-year wedding anniversary with his husband, is the brother of Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville). The Collins’ also have an openly gay sister.

“My brother and the other Arkansas legislators who voted for SB 202 chose to move their state backward with a bigoted, hurtful bill that by [Sen. Bart] Hester’s own admission is a reactionary one in the face of growing acceptance and political power of the LGBT community,” the letter states.

Opponents say the measure, approved by the legislature last week, sanctions discrimination against gays and transgender individuals because it blocks municipalities from adopting ordinances that go beyond state’s law, which doesn’t protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Charlie Collins responded to his brother’s letter on his personal Facebook page, saying he’s glad both of them live in a country where they can express their views freely, but he will continue to defend his vote on SB 202.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said last week he was concerned about taking away local control from municipalities, but that he he would let the bill become law without his signature, a move often used to show discontent, but acknowledge there is enough support to override a veto.

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