October 26, 2017-
The Arkansas Supreme Court today stopped, at least temporarily, efforts by lawyers to question Sen. Bart Hester and Rep. Bob Ballinger about their sponsorship of legislation intended to prevent Fayetteville and other cities from adopting civil rights ordinances that protect gay people. According to the Associated Press, the court issued a one-page order that stopped depositions and document requests while it considers the state argument that they can’t be compelled to testify about their legislation or produce documents about it.
The city and intervenors are trying to defend the city ordinance. The state, through Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the group attempting to enforce the state law, Protect Fayetteville, contend the law sponsored by Hester and Ballinger stops local ordinances that broaden civil rights protection beyond aspects listed in the state civil rights law. The state does not protect people from discrimination in employment, housing or public services on account of sexual orientation or gender identity. Hester and Balligner and other anti-gay legislators and members of Protect Fayetteville want to keep it that way.