Arkansas Civil Rights

On Monday, several events around central Arkansas are commemorating and celebrating the work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

--At the UALR Jack Stephens Center, the state Martin Luther King Jr Commission is holding a "Mega King Fest" from 7am to 3pm. Doors Open at 6:30am. The day will start out with an interfaith prayer breakfast lasting until 8:30am. It's expected to be attended by Governor Asa Hutchinson, Senator Tom Cotton, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and others. 

Arkansas-born civil rights leader Ozell Sutton passed away in Atlanta on Saturday at the age of 90.

His accomplishments in Arkansas include helping to desegregate downtown Little Rock and serving as an advisor to former Governor Winthrop Rockefeller.

Marissa Marisa Pavan Birth Certificate certificates same-sex marrriage
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Health Department has decided to issue amended birth certificates for children of same-sex couples who can prove they were married before the child was born.

Health Department spokeswoman Meg Mirivel said Monday that the department reviewed an order from Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox and decided to amend those specific birth certificates starting last Friday. Fox issued a ruling striking down a portion of the state's birth certificate law and said Arkansas must amend the birth certificates, listing both spouses as parents.

An attorney for three-same sex couples who sued Arkansas to require both spouses be listed on children's birth certificates is asking the state's highest court to not block a judge's ruling striking down part of the state's birth certificate law.

Attorney Cheryl Maples on Thursday asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to deny the state's motion to stay Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox's ruling ordering the state to issue amended certificates to the couples.

Arkansas Municipal League

Community-based policing is a focus at this fall’s Arkansas Municipal League conference. About 750 municipal and county officials discussed “respect and understanding” in law enforcement on Wednesday in Springdale.

Whitnee Bullerwell  is the League’s spokesperson. She said a panel of police officers and mayors shared their experiences with improving community relationships.

"Offering advice on what they've done in the past in  making certain community-based policing is a priority and all demographics are taken into account and considered," she said. 

An Arkansas judge has struck down part of the state's law on birth certificates, a move that an attorney says clears the way for married same-sex couples to both be listed as parents.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox late Tuesday afternoon declared parts of the state's birth certificate law unconstitutional since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.

A Dover police supervisor says a black man whose jaw was broken after he was kicked in the head by a white officer was alert and belligerent shortly afterward.

Lt. Todd Case was the first witness called in the trial of Cpl. Thomas Webster IV, who is charged with felony assault. A police dash cam video shows Webster kicking Lateef Dickerson in August 2013 while Dickerson was on his hands and knees.

Dickerson was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken jaw. Webster's attorney says the officer's actions were justified in responding to reports of a man with a gun.

A discrimination/retaliation lawsuit filed Monday against the Fort Smith Police Department notes that the department has not promoted a black officer since 1988 and has not hired a black officer since 1995.

File photo: Attorney Cheryl Maples.
arktimes.com

A same-sex couple seeking to amend their child’s birth certificate to include the non-biological mother has been denied by the Arkansas Department of Health despite a judge’s order. Following Monday's request to change documentation the attorney general's office filed a request for a stay on Tuesday with a notification of intent to appeal.

Just hours after Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Fox’s decision on Monday Marissa Pavan went with her spouse and attorney Cheryl Maples to the state’s vital records office.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox.
courts.arkansas.gov

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox on Monday said three same-sex couples can ask the Arkansas Department of Health to change their children’s birth certificates to reflect both spouses’ names. A suit was brought in June following the US Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman spoke with the former Dean of the UALR Bowen School of Law, Professor John DiPippa, about the rights of non-biological parents.

KAUFFMAN: How does this tie into the benefits granted by the US Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage?

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