Both Sides Speak Out About Civil Rights Ordinance

FAYETTEVILLE, AR--A proposed civil rights ordinance to protect Fayetteville residents -- is a hot button issue of debate.
Those opposing are protesting tonight. First at a local church, and then they rallied to city hall.
They say the discussion taking place on Tuesday, is too broad and infringes on First Amendment rights.

"We don't want people to be discriminated against but we also don't want to lose our first amendment rights," said ordinance opposer, Wendy Campbell.

Ordinance 119. It's a plan to protect the civil rights of Fayetteville residents.
Some are big supporters, but those in opposition, holding a rally on Saturday.

"One principle under the First Amendment is that government can't compel speech. It can't force you to send a message that you disagree with," said Stephanie Nichols, a lawyer in oppositon.

That's one thing these protesters are rallying for...guaranteed protection.

"With this ordinance they have been told you have an exemption for the events you host  in your chapels and sanctuaries, but as far as your reception hall, meeting rooms. If you open up any of that to non members you also have to be willing to host things that you might disagree with," said Nichols.

Local minister, Edwin Williams says he supports the civil rights ordinance.

"Everyone should be treated regardless of you know of who they are and what they look like," said Williams. "It's something I would demand for myself and I and I believe it's something everyone else would demand for themselves."

Folks on both sides of the debate...speaking their minds with strong opinions.

"To me it's only for the best. It's it's designed for the best interest of the people of Fayetteville," said Williams.

"We should be able to sit down and discuss things and we should be able to tolerate different beliefs in our society," Nichols said.

With a vote expected on Tuesday, the city council is preparing for a large turnout. They're working to move the meeting to the fayetteville town center, instead of city hall.

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