Thursday, June 30, 2016

Why Texarkana, AR Repealing M130 Was a Mistake

Texarkana April 2016 039 (State Line Avenue)
Michael Barera [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Texarkana, Arkansas recently repealed a city ordinance, commonly known as M130. I won't get into the travesty of a propaganda campaign that brought this campaign to a vote; that's in the past. What I want to discuss is why repealing it was a mistake.

First of all, what did M130 do? Well, Russell McDermott put it succinctly in the Texarkana Gazette:

"The Texarkana, Ark., antidiscrimination ordinance says the city will not discriminate in selecting vendors, employment or providing city services “because of race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, political opinions or affiliation.” (source)

That's it. Seems pretty harmless, right? Well, in light of the 'bathroom debate' that's become a national conversation, some residents thought not. But here's the thing: even if you think that transgender individuals shouldn't be able to use the facilities that match their gender identity (in which case I disagree with you, but that's a conversation for another time), M130 HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH BATHROOMS. The ordinance basically stated that the city would not discriminate in THEIR employment practices, or use vendors/contractors who do. IT DIDN'T EVEN PREVENT BUSINESS OWNERS IN TEXARKANA FROM DISCRIMINATING TO THEIR HEARTS' CONTENT.

Now, back to the point: why repealing this ordinance was an awful, shortsighted decision.

To put it bluntly, discrimination is bad for the economy. This decision is going to drive away businesses and individuals who may have been able to revitalize the economy on this side of town -- which is already suffering in comparison to Texas side.

In short, this decision that was heavily carried by the older, more conservative citizens of Texarkana will hurt the younger citizens by creating one more obstacle to growth.

If you voted to repeal, I've got only one thing to say to you.

Enjoy your ghost town.