Today, the Arkansas House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear HB 2232. Although the bill’s title claims it would it promotes “non-discrimination” and protects “religious liberty,” it would do the exact opposite.
As the states gear up to reconvene their legislative sessions after the New Year, we can expect to see many states pursuing Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) legislation. We often focus on states without state-level RFRAs that attempt to pass bills to create a new law; for example, last year both Indiana and Arkansas passed new RFRA legislation, and the sponsor of Georgia’s bill to create a RFRA has said he will introduce legislation in 2016. However, state legislative activity is not limited merely to creating new RFRA laws. Even in states that currently have RFRA laws, we anticipate that there will be increasing attempts to expand these state RFRAs.
The Department of Health in Arkansas has begun allowing same-sex partners to be listed as parents on a baby's birth certificate. Progress!
Times they are a-changing is Fayetteville, Arkansas, despite Michelle Duggar's meddling.
From Americans United's Wall of Separation blog:
Three Arkansas counties have refused to drop ordinances that ban anti-gay discrimination, despite a new state law designed to block them from enforcing the laws. The Associated Press (AP) reports that Little Rock, Hot Springs and Pulaski County are keeping the ordinances; a fourth municipality, Eureka Springs, has not yet reached a decision.
From The Arkansas Times Arkansas Blog:
"Channel 4's Greg Yarbrough tells me at 5 p.m. that reporter Marci Manley has talked with Van Buren Clerk Pam Bradford, who has not returned my calls. She tells Manley that she's spoken with an Arkansas attorney, Mike Rainwater, who provides legal advice to county governments through the Association of Arkansas Counties, and is now saying she will issue marriage licenses — and treat customers "with respect." This followed by about an hour a phone message to me from Mathew Staver, head of the Liberty Counsel in Texas, which said it had agreed to represent Bradford to defend her in resisting issuance of licenses."