Arkansas LGBT

Transgender Arkansans faced higher levels of unemployment, poverty and psychological distress than the population at large in 2015. That's according to a new study from the National Center for Transgender Equality. Of the 222 Arkansas residents surveyed, 11 percent were unemployed, 37 percent were living in poverty and 44 percent experienced severe psychological distress in the month prior to completing the survey.

The center's Executive Director Mara Keisling says the state-based findings are consistent with the organization’s larger survey of 27,715 people from around the U.S.

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

A bill that would allow married gay couples in Arkansas to list both spouses' names on their children's birth certificates without a court order has failed to advance out of a Senate committee.

Democratic Sen. Joyce Elliott's bill failed to advance Monday from the Senate Judiciary Committee due to a lack of a second motion. The proposed measure would have changed the presumption of parentage under the state's artificial insemination and surrogacy laws.

An Arkansas lawmaker is backing away from a broad "bathroom bill" targeting transgender people that had drawn opposition from the state's Republican governor and tourism officials, but says he'll propose another measure giving schools legal protection over their restroom policies.

Republican Sen. Greg Standridge said Thursday he's withdrawing his one-sentence bill with gender identity and bathroom privileges. A co-sponsor of the measure had said it was intended to require that someone use the public restroom consistent with the gender on their birth certificate.

Gretchen Hall Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A proposed bathroom bill filed in the Arkansas Legislature targeting transgender people is raising the concern of the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

SB346 doesn’t offer any specifics at this point and is essentially a shell bill, but Republican Senator Gary Stubblefield told the Associated Press it would require people to use public bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate.

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

Attorneys are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review an Arkansas ruling preventing married same-sex couples from getting the names of both spouses on their children's birth certificates without a court order.

Attorneys for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and two same-sex couples are asking justices to weigh in on a December state Supreme Court ruling. The state court reversed a judge's decision to strike down part of Arkansas' birth certificate law.

Fayetteville anti-discrimination Arkansas Supreme Court
courts.arkansas.gov

The Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments Thursday concerning Fayetteville’s anti-discrimination ordinance which includes protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. Justices questioned whether the city ordinance, passed by voters there in September 2015, conflicts with a state law passed earlier that year which bans cities and counties from enacting protections not contained in the state's civil rights law.

Leslie Rutledge attorney general
oversight.house.gov/

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is asking the state's highest court to hold oral arguments in the lawsuit challenging a city ordinance that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender orientation.

Lucie's Place

Four Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered young people in central Arkansas will have a chance to move in to a group house and receive life skills training through a donated home. Lucie’s Place, which provides services for homeless LGBT youth is launching its first residence for young adults in Little Rock this fall.

Penelope Poppers says while there’s relatively little data on homeless LGBT, especially in the south, more LGBT teens are forced out of their homes and their lives on the street are especially hard.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislature has given final approval to a rule allowing counselors to refer clients to another provider if they have religious objections to treating them. But critics say it could allow the denial of mental health services for LGBT people.

The Legislative Council's Rules and Regulations Subcommittee approved the proposal Tuesday by the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling, which regulates about 2,800 counselors and therapists in the state.

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A rule that would allow Arkansas counselors to refer patients to another provider over religious objections has been sent back to a subcommittee.

The Arkansas Legislative Council voted Friday to refer the rule with little discussion. State Rep. Andy Davis, co-chair of the Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee, says the rule was not expected to be controversial, "but now that it is, we'll give them 30 more days to look at it."

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