Arkansas Civil Rights

File photo: Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking to reporters at the Capitol
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas Republicans wasted no time in letting voters know they do not accept President Obama’s directive on transgender access to public school bathrooms and locker rooms while some Arkansas Democrats are keeping a low profile.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he's unlikely to push this year to end the state's practice of commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same day.

The Republican governor told reporters Thursday he still wants to remove Lee from the King holiday, but says there's no consensus among lawmakers for taking up the proposal during a special session on highways this month.

HRC Arkansas Director Kendra Johnson and HRC President Chad Griffin speaking at the Capitol about an ad HRC is running opposed to a so-called religious liberty law proposed in 2015.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Late this afternoon our often-slighted neighbors to the east in Mississippi are expected to send a so-called religious freedom bill to their governor. Governor Phil Bryant now faces a decision that Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson had to make last year.

Black lawmakers are holding off on saying whether they support an effort this year to end Arkansas' practice of honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same day.

The Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus on Tuesday tabled a vote on ending the dual holiday. Gov. Asa Hutchinson is considering putting the proposal on the agenda for a special session later this spring. Members of the caucus said they want to see the proposed legislation in writing before taking a stance.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Birmingham Police Department

The Pulaski County Quorum Court has passed a resolution to support proposed legislation that would end the state's practice of commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same day.

The court voted 13-0 Tuesday to support ending the practice in Arkansas - one of three states to jointly celebrate the black civil rights leader and the white Confederate general on the third Monday in January.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (center) signs a black history month declaration while sitting beside State Sen. Linda Chesterfield (right).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson used the stature of his office to commemorate Black History month with African-American leaders and dozens of school children at the Capitol, Monday. The governor signed a declaration and lent his voice.

“It is not a time for African-Americans to celebrate your own history by yourself. It is a time that you share African-American history with everyone else,” said Hutchinson.

The Republican governor said everyone must be vigilant in protecting the gains of the past.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Many gathered for events throughout Little Rock celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Day, from the annual "marade" organized by the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP, to a day of service at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

While Arkansas also marked Robert E. Lee Day Monday, few events around the state honored the Confederate Civil War general. Supporters, including the state chapter of the Sons of the Confederacy, say they will celebrate Lee's actual Jan. 19 birthday Tuesday.

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.

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