FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 29, 2014
On Friday, the Mayor of Fayetteville announced the establishment of a ten-member advisory board at the request of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce to receive input on the city’s controversial nondiscrimination ordinance passed on August 20.
Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement, saying, “This is very troubling. Here you have an ordinance that is extremely unpopular and that citizens are actively working to repeal. Now that it has passed, the mayor says he is open to input, not because of concerns over public safety or religious liberties, but because the local Chamber of Commerce sent him a letter.”
Cox questioned why the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce waited until after the ordinance passed to make its concerns known. “This ordinance was no secret. It was read and discussed at three separate City Council meetings. One of those meetings lasted nine hours. Hundreds of citizens and church leaders came out to voice their concerns about the ordinance, but most of those concerns were ignored. The council passed the ordinance. If the Chamber of Commerce had concerns about ambiguities in the ordinance, they should have made those concerns known before it passed.”
Cox said the mayor’s actions send the wrong message to local residents. “There’s little doubt in my mind this ordinance is bad for business, but the message the mayor is sending is that business leaders get special treatment other citizens do not get. They get a second chance to speak on the ordinance. I really wonder if the mayor would be doing this if the request had come from anyone else.”
Cox said this latest situation highlights some of the unintended consequences his group has discussed concerning the ordinance. “We said this would expand government and create unforeseen problems for the City of Fayetteville. That’s what is happening here. This is just one controversy Chapter 119 has caused, and the ordinance hasn’t even been engrossed into the city code yet.”
Jerry is the founder and president of Family Council. He began Family Council in 1989 after a successful effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to prevent the use of public funds for abortions. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.