FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Fayetteville City Council will take up a resolution drafted by the city attorney that reaffirms the city’s commitment to transgender citizens and visitors.
“We want to have everybody feel like they’re welcome and a part of Fayetteville,” said Kit Williams, Fayetteville’s City Attorney.
In a letter distributed to Mayor Lioneld Jordan and Fayetteville’s City Council, Williams referenced several laws passed by Arkansas’ legislature targeting trans citizens.
“Sadly, Republicans in the General Assembly have taken aim against transgender persons, especially children, to deny them safe and effective medical care, to deny them access to school sports, to deny them access to safe bathrooms, and even tried to deny school teachers the opportunity to use the child’s preferred name,” Williams wrote in the correspondence, dated April 26.
Jordan sponsored the resolution, and it was brought before Tuesday’s agenda session. Councilmembers voted to take it up first thing during their meeting next week.
“We can’t change the law that’s been passed, but we can say something about how we feel and what we think,” Jordan said.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed one of the three bills targeting transgender Arkansans. That veto was overturned. Hutchinson said Tuesday that he would theoretically support cities voting to enact similar resolutions, but he hadn’t read the resolution’s language when asked about it.
“I’d have to look at the specific language, but that sounds like something every city should be able to express their support for if they wish to,” Hutchinson said.
Williams said there’s only so much a city can do when a law’s enacted.
“When they say what the law is, we must comply with the law,” Williams said.
This is what the city can do, Williams said, and he expects the council to pass the resolution.
“I should give the city council of Fayetteville an opportunity to say we still honor and respect and will not discriminate against our transgender citizens,” Williams said.