Last week the ACLU of Arkansas issued a report calling the state’s 2021 legislative session “a catastrophe for civil and human rights in Arkansas.”
The report heavily criticized some of the good laws the Arkansas Legislature passed this year, including:
- Act 309 / S.B. 6 (Prohibiting Abortion): This good law by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) prohibits abortion in Arkansas, except in cases when the mother’s life is in jeopardy. This could save the lives of thousands of children and give the courts an opportunity to overturn bad, pro-abortion rulings. Read The Law Here.
- Act 626 / H.B. 1570 (Prohibiting Sex-Reassignment on Children): This good law by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Springdale) and Sen. Alan Clark (R – Lonsdale) prohibits sex-reassignment procedures on children. The law also prevents funding of sex-reassignment procedures performed on children. This law will protect children from being subjected to surgeries and procedures that can leave them sterilized and permanently scarred. Read The Law Here.
- Act 461 / S.B. 354 (Protecting Fairness in Women’s Sports): This good law by Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R -Smackover) would prevent male student athletes from competing against girls in women’s athletics. This would protect fairness for girls’ sports at school in Arkansas. Read The Law Here.
- S.J.R. 14 (Religious Freedom Amendment): S.J.R. 14 by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) and Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) amends the Arkansas Constitution. It prevents the government from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion. The measure is similar to Arkansas’ state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment to the Arkansas Constitution. Read The Measure Here.
The ACLU indicated it plans to file lawsuits to block the state from enforcing Act 309 and Act 626.
If the ACLU follows through with its lawsuit against Act 309 (S.B. 6), it will give the federal courts an opportunity to reverse decades of bad case law on abortion — including possibly overturning or Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and other pro-abortion decisions.
The ACLU also said “The Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment [S.J.R. 14] would be among the most extreme of its kind in the country, giving people a basis to challenge and exempt themselves from virtually any state law.”
But that simply is not the case.
Most states in America have enacted Religious Freedom Restoration Acts similar to S.J.R. 14 already.
Alabama has had a religious freedom amendment very similar to S.J.R. 14 in its state constitution for many years.
Measures like S.J.R. 14 simply help restore protections for the free exercise of religion. It’s just a good amendment that will help ensure that our state constitution protects religious liberty in Arkansas.
That’s something that everybody ought to be able to support.