It's not the best source, but most of America uses Wikipedia to get a sense of an idea. It's not ground breaking and it won't win elections or equality, but it's something. Are you burned from the shellacking? Want to help do a little something different? From the comfort of your home?
I wrote this for just Arkansas, but every state needs your help.
So you think it’s illegal to discriminate in Arkansas based on sexual orientation or gender identity? Sorry…you are WRONG! Far too many people assume that it’s illegal to discriminate against LGBT people in important areas like employment or housing. It’s perfectly legal in Arkansas. But how would you find out about LGBT rights in a state like Arkansas? Well, you could go to a national organization that tracks that kind of thing, but what about a more accessible source like Wikipedia?
Plenty of Wikipedia pages have the state of marriage equality listed by state or non-discrimination laws, but only 13 states have their own page detailing what the state of equality is in their state. The following states have Wikipedia entries for LGBT rights: Alabama · Delaware · Florida · Louisiana · Michigan · Minnesota · Nevada · New Hampshire ·New Jersey · Ohio · Utah · West Virginia · Wyoming
Where is Arkansas? Sure we don’t have any statewide rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual people, but isn’t that just as important to document? Several of those state pages provide the history behind where they are at on a particular right. Don’t we have history?
There’s already a good template to use so that it fits into the series on all the states and LGBT equality. Who is up for some research and volunteer work during the holidays? Any students or professional researchers? Where are the web-savvy tech geeks in Arkansas? Who will help us document the state of equality in Arkansas?
Things that might be documented under the Arkansas page:
-Relationship recognition: Arkansas’ 2004 amendment pretty well killed that
-Parenting: After a favorable ruling in Howard v. Arkansas the people passed the horrible Act 1 then we had a new ruling by Judge Piazza that is currently pending.
-Hate Crimes: none….for anyone…
-What about the two successes in Eureka Springs?
-What about the fact that a bill prohibiting discrimination (just sexual orientation) was filed back in 2007 by Rep. Smith but never went anywhere?
Do you have friends in other states that would be interested in documenting the rights in their state? Perhaps this can be a nationwide effort to document the state of equality. A small effort in the grand scale, but an effort that is nearly free to accomplish. Then folks have a place to learn about their state. Any takers?
(PS. By the time you read this it’s very possible some folks will jump to the challenge and start posting Wikipedia pages. Don’t be surprised if all of a sudden there are pages for each state!)