LITTLE ROCK — The Little Rock City Board of Directors on Tuesday night adopted an ordinance prohibiting the city and any vendors that do business with the city from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

LITTLE ROCK — The Little Rock City Board of Directors on Tuesday night adopted an ordinance prohibiting the city and any vendors that do business with the city from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity.


The action follows passage earlier this year of a state law barring cities and counties from passing ordinances prohibiting discrimination on any basis not in state law. Supports of the Little Rock ordinance say it does not conflict with Act 137 of 2015 because the ordinance changes the Little Rock’s hiring policies, which they say do not fall under the law.


The legislation that became Act 137 was filed in response to an ordinance adopted by the city of Fayetteville last year to make sexual orientation and sexual identity protected classes in the city. Voters later repealed the ordinance.


Kendra Johnson, state director of the Human Rights Campaign, group that advocates for civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, said in a statement Tuesday that "city leaders here in Little Rock are taking a bold, courageous and much-needed stand to protect city workers, showing once and for all that Arkansans believe in the Golden Rule."


"We ask Governor Asa Hutchinson to follow Little Rock’s lead and issue an executive order to protect state workers. In addition, we call on both local and state lawmakers to advance comprehensive non-discrimination legislation that will protect all Arkansans. At the end of the day, it’s just the right thing to do," Johnson said.


Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, who sponsored the legislation that became Act 137, did not answer a call to his cell phone Tuesday night.