Arkansas Supreme Court eliminates gender neutral option for state IDs

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Arkansas Supreme Court eliminates gender neutral option for state IDs

The Arkansas Supreme Court eliminated the option for residents to use a neutral gender identification on their state ID cards Tuesday.

The ruling reinstates a state law that had banned the use of “X” as an option for gender identification. A lower court had blocked the bill earlier this month, arguing it would do harm to transgender residents.

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, a Republican, praised Tuesday’s ruling in a public statement.

“I applaud the Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision staying the circuit court’s unlawful order and allowing the Department of Finance and Administration to bring its identification rules into compliance with state law,” he said.

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The Arkansas Supreme court eliminated the option for residents to use a neutral gender identification on their state ID cards Tuesday. (Getty Images)

The Arkansas ALCU had sued to end the legislation this spring, leading to the earlier court order blocking the new rule.

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“The only real emergency here is the one created by the state itself, imposing this rule on transgender, intersex, and nonbinary Arkansans,” said Holly Dickson, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas.

Tim Griffin

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, a Republican, praised Tuesday’s ruling in a public statement. (Getty Images)

“By removing the ‘X’ marker option, the state forces those who do not fit squarely into the gender binary to choose an inaccurate gender marker, resulting in potential confusion, distress, discrimination, physical harm, and a lack of proper identification,” she added.

Fewer than half of U.S. states allow “X” as a valid gender on identification forms. With Arkansas’ departure, 21 states and Washington, D.C., maintain the policy.

Highway closed

Of Arkansas’ 2.6 million active driver’s licenses, just 387 had the “X” designation. (Getty Images)

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Of Arkansas’ 2.6 million active driver’s licenses, just 387 had the “X” designation. The state also has 503,000 IDs, of which 167 had the “X” designation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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