Arkansas asked to reconsider ruling on LGBT rights measure

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) | An Arkansas city and LGBT rights advocates are asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling that blocked the city from enforcing an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Attorneys for Fayetteville and the group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays asked the court Feb. 15 to reconsider its decision to overturn a lower court ruling that the city could continue enforcing its ordinance while the city challenged a 2015 law that barred cities and counties from enacting protections not covered by state law. Arkansas’ civil rights law doesn’t cover sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Arkansas court rules city can’t enforce LGBT protections

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) | Arkansas’ highest court on Jan. 31 said a city can’t enforce its ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, saying it’s already ruled the measure violates a state law aimed at preventing local protections for LGBT people.

The state Supreme Court unanimously reversed a Washington County judge’s decision to allow Fayetteville to continue enforcing its anti-discrimination ordinance while the city challenged the constitutionality of a 2015 law preventing cities and counties from enacting protections not covered by state law. Arkansas’ civil rights law doesn’t cover sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Arkansas resumes issuing birth certificates after brief halt

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ governor ordered health officials on Friday to treat married lesbian and heterosexual couples the same when listing the parents on a birth certificate, in an effort to comply with a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the state’s birth certificate law was discriminatory.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s directive came hours after a judge blocked the state from issuing any birth certificates until it complied with the June ruling. Arkansas stopped issuing and amending birth certificates for about two hours Friday morning after the injunction by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox, who also canceled mediation he had ordered between attorneys for the state and three same-sex couples to find a fix to the law.

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Man sentenced for threatening Arkansas mayors

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TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) – An Arkansas man who mailed letters in 2015 threatening to kill several of the state’s mayors if they didn’t meet his demands has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison.

The Texarkana Gazette reports that 56-year-old Maverick Dean Bryan was sentenced Aug. 23 in Texarkana, Arkansas. He received credit for the 16 months he’s already been in jail. He’ll be on probation for three years after his release.

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Arkansas asks that city’s LGBT rights ordinance be blocked

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – Arkansas asked a judge July 28 to block enforcement of a city ordinance that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, months after the state’s highest court ruled the measure violated a law aimed at prohibiting local LGBT protections.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and a group opposed to the Fayetteville anti-discrimination ordinance asked Washington County Circuit Judge Doug Martin to issue a preliminary injunction against the measure. The state Supreme Court in February reversed a ruling that the ordinance didn’t violate a state law prohibiting cities from enacting protections not covered by state law. Arkansas’ civil rights law doesn’t cover sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Arkansas to issue birth certificates for same-sex parents

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – The Arkansas Health Department says it will begin issuing birth certificates listing both spouses in married same-sex couples as the parents after the state lost a case before the U.S. Supreme Court this week.

The department said June 28 it’ll begin issuing birth certificates for same-sex couples who used artificial insemination and were married at the time of the birth of their child. The department said amended birth certificates will only be issued in cases where the birth mother is listed on the certificate and no one is listed as the father.

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Supreme Court rules for lesbian parents in Ark. birth certificate case

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Supreme Court reversed Monday an Arkansas high court ruling allowing the state to refuse to place a lesbian parent’s name on the birth certificate of their child if the parent isn’t the birth mother.

In the case of Pavan v. Smith, the court in a per curiam decision issued a summary reversal of the Arkansas Supreme Court decision on the basis it contravened the 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges extending marriage equality nationwide, which was handed down exactly two years to the day of the reversal.

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Opponents: Arkansas exposure bill targets transgender people

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP)- An Arkansas lawmaker wants to expand the state’s indecent exposure law in a move that opponents say could criminalize transgender people’s use of bathrooms.

Republican Rep. Bob Ballinger’s proposal would make it a crime for people to knowingly expose their sex organs to someone of the opposite sex in a public place under circumstances likely to cause alarm. Ballinger said the measure was needed to protect children in situations such as when a father takes his daughter into the men’s restroom. The bill would make it a crime for the men to deliberately expose themselves to the child.

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Arkansas panel closer to public building ‘bathroom bill’

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – An Arkansas Senate committee moved closer to approving a bill requiring that people in public schools and government buildings use bathrooms that correspond to their birth gender, despite fears the move could lead to boycotts.

Republican Sen. Linda Collins-Smith wants restrooms or locker rooms in government buildings limited to members of only one sex if multiple people use it. A similar law in North Carolina prompted the NBA and NCAA to move major sporting events out of the state.

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Arkansas ‘bathroom bill’ would cover government buildings

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – An Arkansas lawmaker proposed March 6 prohibiting individuals from using bathrooms in government buildings that do not match their gender at birth, despite warnings from the state’s Republican governor against a “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people.

The proposal from Republican Sen. Linda Collins-Smith would require every restroom or changing facility accessible by multiple people at the same time in a government building be designated for use by members of only one sex. The bill would not apply to private restrooms.

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Arkansas Supreme Court strikes down pro-LGBT city ordinance

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a pro-LGBT ordinance enacted in the state’s third largest city as an act of defiance over a state law barring municipalities from passing such measures.

In the 10-page unanimous decision, Associate Justice Josephine Linker Hart determined the pro-LGBT ordinance enacted by Fayetteville “creates a nonuniform nondiscrimination law and obligation in the City of Fayetteville that does not exist under state law.”

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‘Bathroom bill’ could upend Arkansas session

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – Two years ago, a bill blasted by critics as anti-LGBT upended the final days of a legislative session that Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson had hoped to focus on tax cuts and health care reform. A plan by GOP lawmakers to push for a “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people means the Legislature is about to dive into a reprise of that battle.

A one-sentence bill filed last week offered little specifics, other than saying its purpose was to address “gender identity and bathroom privileges.” A lawmaker co-sponsoring the measure said, once finalized, it’ll require people to use public restrooms consistent with the gender on their birth certificates.

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