In the early morning hours of Wednesday August 20, 2014 the northwestern Arkansas city of Fayetteville became the first town in the state to include sexual orientation and identity, as well as socioeconomic background, among other categories, to the list of groups protected in the Non-Discrimination law for the city.
After hours of often ugly and acrimonious public comments, but also with a goodly portion of support and praise for the forward thinking councilmembers, the City Council led by Mayor Lioneld Jordan called for vote on an ordinance to amend the Fayetteville Code by enacting Chapter 119 Civil Rights Administration to protect the Civil Rights of Fayetteville citizens and visitors and to create the position of Civil Rights Administrator for the City of Fayetteville. This legislation which was introduced by alderman Matthew Petty was swiftly passed by a vote of 6-2 at around 3:30 am, and will become the law of the city in 31 days.
The aldermen (and women) voting for the passage were: Adella Gray, Sarah Marsh, Mark Kinion, Matthew Petty, Rhonda Adams, and Alan Long. The two dissenters of the measure were aldermans Justin Tennant and Martin W. Schoppmeyer Jr.
Max Brantley writing for the Arkansas Times has an superb breakdown of the proceedings and the history which I cannot hope to add to in this space. You can read his blog here: http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2014/08/19/fayetteville-council-votes-6-2-for-civil-rights-ordinance-that-protects-gay-transgender-people
Should you wish to view the proceedings (all 10+ hours worth) the city of Fayetteville has a excellent website and you can view the archive here: http://accessfayetteville.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=3335&meta_id=76478
Mayor Lioneld Jordan gives an impassioned statement before calling the council to a vote.