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Arkansas Supreme Court eliminates gender neutral option for state IDs

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

The ruling reinstates a state law banning the use of “X” as a gender identifier after a lower court blocked the bill earlier this month, saying it would harm transgender residents.

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

“We applaud the Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision to block the circuit court’s unlawful order and allow the Department of Financial Management to make its background check regulations conform to state law,” he said.

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The Arkansas Supreme Court on Tuesday eliminated the option for residents to use gender-neutral identifiers on their state identification cards. (Getty Images)

The Arkansas ALCU filed a lawsuit this spring seeking to repeal the law, and a previous court order had blocked the new rules.

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“The only real emergency here is the state’s own creation, imposing this rule on transgender, intersex and non-binary Arkansans,” said Holly Dixon, Arkansas executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Tim Griffin

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

“By eliminating the ‘X’ option, the state is forcing people who do not fit neatly into the gender binary to choose an inaccurate gender marker, potentially causing confusion, distress, discrimination, physical harm and lack of proper identification,” she added.

Fewer than half of US states currently accept “X” as a valid gender for ID purposes. With Arkansas opting out, 21 states and Washington, D.C., remain on the policy.

The highway is closed

Of Arkansas’ 2.6 million valid driver’s licenses, only 387 have the “X” designation. (Getty Images)

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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