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Arkansas Supreme Court Sets November 20 Hearing Date For Challenge to State's Gay Marriage Ban

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The Arkansas Supreme Court has set November 20th as the date it will hear arguments concerning a challenge to the state's gay marriage ban, Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner reports:

The scheduling coincides with a separate case challenging Arkansas' gay marriage ban that be heard by a federal judge that day. 

A hearing for summary judgement in Montana's gay marriage battle is also scheduled for November 20th. 


Federal Judge Sets November 20 Hearing Date For Challenge To Arkansas' Gay Marriage Ban

Ark2A federal judge in Arkansas has set November 20 as the day he will hear arguments concerning a challenge to the state's gay marriage ban. The AP reports:

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Monday scheduled a Nov. 20 hearing over competing motions in the lawsuit challenging a 2004 constitutional amendment and earlier laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman. A group of same-sex couples is challenging the ban.

The hearing will be on the couples' motion for summary judgment in the case, and on a separate motion by the state seeking to dismiss the lawsuit.

The state Supreme Court is considering a separate case regarding the gay marriage ban. The state appealed a Pulaski County judge's ruling against the ban, which led to hundreds of same-sex marriages. The judge's order was suspended while it's on appeal.

As the AP notes, the first same-sex marriages in Arkansas began this past May but shortly thereafter were halted by the state's Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the state and its Attorney General remain invested in keeping the marriage ban in place. 


24,000 Transgender People May Be Ineligible To Vote In November Due to Voter ID- VIDEO

Voting laws transgender people

Strict voter ID laws in ten states could create barriers to voting and lead to possible disenfranchisement for more than 24,000 transgender voters this November, reports LGBTQ Nation.

MapAccording to the study “The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in the 2014 General Election,” about 84,000 transgender people across the ten strict photo ID states are estimated to be eligible to vote. The 24,000 transgender voters who may face barriers to voting reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

In order for these 24,000 voting-eligible transgender people to obtain the updated photo IDs required to vote in the November 2014 general election, they must comply with the requirements for updating their state-issued or federally-issued IDs.

The study’s author Jody L. Herman, Ph.D, said:

“Some voters may not have the means or the ability to present the required voter identification for a variety of reasons, such as poverty, disability, or religious objection.

Transgender people have unique barriers to obtaining accurate IDs needed to vote.

As these ten states begin planning for their fall elections, educating poll workers is crucial in order to ensure that transgender voters in their states have fair access to the ballot.”

Watch the 2012 National Center for Transgender Equality's "Voting While Trans" campaign video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "24,000 Transgender People May Be Ineligible To Vote In November Due to Voter ID- VIDEO" »


Arkansas Supreme Court Denies Recusal Request By Marriage Plaintiffs

CourtOn Thursday, Arkansas' highest court denied the request by plaintiffs in a case challenging the state's ban on gay marriage that member of the state Supreme Court recuse themselves from the case if they're seeking reelection.

The reason for the unusual request was that those seeking reelection could face retaliation by conservative state lawmakers should they side with marriage equality. The justices did not elaborate on their reasons for denying the motion.

The Associated Press adds:

McdanielAttorney General Dustin McDaniel had asked the court to reject the motion, saying it was unnecessary.

"As the attorney general stated when the motion was filed, it is a nonstarter to file recusal motions simply because justices must hear controversial cases and then stand for election," McDaniel spokesman Aaron Sadler said in an email. "We respect the court's decision."

It's unclear when the court will decide the appeal in the gay marriage lawsuit. The state has a Sept. 15 deadline to file its brief in the case.

 


Fayetteville, Arkansas City Council Passes Non-Discrimination Ordinance: VIDEO

Ndo

Following nearly 10 hours of debate, the City Council in Fayetteville, Arkansas voted to pass a controversial non-discrimination ordinance by a vote of 6-2 at 3:20 AM Wednesday morning. The ordinance will provide protections for citizens against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in addition to discrimination based on age, gender, national origin, race, religion, disability, ethnicity, familial status, marital status, socioeconomic background and veteran status.

The Fayetteville Flyer reports: 

The new law means landlords and business owners could be investigated and prosecuted for unjustly evicting or firing someone because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic background, marital status or veteran status.

State and federal law prohibits discrimination based on someone’s age, gender, disability, race or religion. But in Arkansas there are no state-level non-discrimination laws that cover the other categories, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

The public meeting of the council that begin yesterday also saw many members of the public weigh in on the proposed ordinance. Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan referenced some of the stories shared by Fayetteville citizens when urging the council to pass the ordinance:

“Just today we’ve seen many of our citizens who’ve been excluded from the table of equality, and I believe it’s time for everyone to have a place at that table, no matter where they come from, what they believe or who they love,” he said.

“When we accomplish that then we can truly hold hands and sing, ‘The land of the free and the home of the brave,’ and actually mean it. We’ve got to go to some place we’ve never been or we’ll all just be stuck right where we are.”

Watch a news report on the meeting and the packed house the vote drew, AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "Fayetteville, Arkansas City Council Passes Non-Discrimination Ordinance: VIDEO" »


Fayetteville, Arkansas City Council Considers LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance: WATCH LIVE

Ndo

The Fayetteville, Arkansas City Council is meeting now and hearing speakers as they take up the proposed LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance (NDO)

Click HERE to watch the meeting unfold LIVE.

One of the items at stake is whether the public will vote on the NDO in November or whether the council will decide the issue tonight.


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