Letter to the Editor: Civil Rights Ordinance

Dear Free Weekly,

I was one of the people who signed the petition to repeal the Civil Rights ordinance passed by the City Council, and I am so sorry. I had not been following the news, and the man who came to my door convinced me that it was more about letting all citizens vote on the ordinance than about repealing it.  I’ve been educating myself since then, and am writing this letter to alert FW readers as to what this law actually will do.

The true intent, as stated in the language of the ordinance, is to make a statement that Fayetteville respects all its citizens and visitors, regardless of their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. It’s not a matter of women/girls being molested in bathrooms, as the opposition is claiming – but of going on record that we are an ethical people and do not allow discrimination to be practiced in our city. I would like that to be Fayetteville’s reputation, that we respect all beings.

And it is curious that those who oppose this ordinance don’t mention whether they support civil rights on the basis of someone’s race, gender or religion. They focus mainly on a person’s sexual orientation . In fact, saying that a trans woman might bother someone in a women’s bathroom is actually disrespecting the civil rights of trans people, spreading false beliefs about them.

Fear of those who are different is something we need to recognize, both in ourselves and in others. And we must be compassionate, and try to understand this fear. At the same time, it is unfortunate that we need a law to force people to be kind, and tolerant of others. I urge you to educate yourselves, and vote on December 9 against repealing the ordinance.

More information is at  the website of the Keep Fayetteville Fair Coalition at fairfayetteville.com; their Twitter handle @fairfayAR – #KeepFayettevilleFair; and their facebook page, KeepFayettevilleFair. There’s also interesting commentary at the blog fayettevillefreezone.com.

And most important, be sure to vote on Tuesday, December 9.

Susanna Brinnon


Categories: Legacy Archive