By ANDREW DeMILLO
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Fayetteville has a gay pride parade that organizers tout as the largest in Arkansas and a reputation as a liberal haven in a conservative state. So the college town's voters took what seemed like a logical step in 2015 when they guaranteed civil rights to the LGBT community.
But Arkansas is one of three GOP-controlled states that had explicitly banned cities and counties from taking such steps, and state officials are challenging the local action. The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday will hear arguments on whether the city's ordinance violates that ban.
A handful of Arkansas cities have similar ordinances on the books. The case could be an important test for cities in other conservative states that are trying to counter bathroom laws and other efforts criticized as discriminatory.