The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration has changed its published personnel policies so that the family leave rule no longer discriminates against same-sex married couples.
I wrote last week that state policy still explicitly prohibited family medical leave for same-sex married spouses (as well as domestic partners).
Jake Bleed, a DFA spokesman, said then that the agency was reviewing personnel policies in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to struck down bans on same-sex marriage and laws by which governments gave privileges to some married couples but not those of the same sex. I’d asked in the meanwhile how the state handled any leave requests, for example.
In responding to that question and notifying me of the change, he said the state had been following guidance from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge since June that said state agencies should not discriminate on account of sex of married couples.
In response to your question from last week – I’ve attached a copy of a memo from the attorney general on this subject. The memo was issued in June and provides pretty direct guidance to the agencies on how they are to handle these situations. We have been in compliance with this since it was issued.
However, as you pointed out, some of our rules are outdated. We’ve reviewed DFA rules on the subject and have found only one which we believe is directly in conflict with the AG’s guidance. This is the same rule you identified in your question, and we have amended the rule to read as follows. Language with a strikethrough has been deleted and, in the second case, replaced with the language in bold.
One small step for humankind.