Arkansas Wins Legal Victory Over Fayetteville Ordinance

This morning the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled the City of Fayetteville cannot enforce an ordinance that gives special protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The court case stems from a so-called “nondiscrimination” ordinance the City of Fayetteville adopted in 2015 despite a state law effectively preventing cities and counties from creating protected classes that are not found in state laws like the Arkansas Civil Rights Act.

Besides running afoul of state law, the Fayetteville ordinance has a number of significant problems.

Under Fayetteville’s ordinance, a minister could be penalized for declining to solemnize a same-sex marriage, and people of faith who own catering services, florist shops, and wedding venues could be penalized for choosing not to participate in same-sex ceremonies.

After more than three years of legal wrangling, the state’s highest court has handed us a solid victory in this case.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and her office have worked tirelessly to stop the City of Fayetteville from enforcing this unlawful ordinance.

The lawsuit over this ordinance has bounced from court to court in the state, but the A.G.’s team has been very proactive at every turn. I honestly don’t believe any state attorney general’s office does a better job standing up for what’s right than Arkansas’.

Photo Credit: “Old Main from the northwest, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas (autumn)” by Brandonrush – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

New Bill Would Protect Medical Professionals’ Rights of Conscience

Rep. Brandt Smith (R – Jonesboro)

Yesterday Rep. Brandt Smith (R – Jonesboro) filed the Medical Conscience Protection Act, H.B. 1289, protecting healthcare professionals’ rights of conscience.

This is a good bill that Family Council supports.

The bill protects healthcare workers and companies from being forced to take part in activities that violate their beliefs — like abortion.

H.B. 1289 clearly states that conscience is a fundamental right, and it protects healthcare professionals and companies from being penalized for following their beliefs.

The bill also contains reasonable safeguards to ensure conscience protections cannot be used to deny a person emergency medical care.

Arkansas law already offers good protections to doctors and nurses — especially when it comes to abortion — but does not give those same protections to social workers, CNAs, and others who work in the healthcare industry.

H.B. 1289 helps ensure no one can be forced to perform, pay for, or participate in a medical procedure that violates their beliefs.

You can thank Rep. Brandt Smith for sponsoring this bill by calling 870-351-7459 or emailing

You can leave a message asking your state representative to support H.B. 1289 by calling the Arkansas House of Representatives at (501) 682-6211.

You can read the Medical Conscience Protection Act here.