ELM SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — After Roe v. Wade was overturned, advocacy groups wanted to provide people with free legal counsel in case queer rights change in the future. The US House of Representatives did pass a same-sex marriage bill, but all state representatives in Arkansas voted against it.
A free legal clinic hosted by local nonprofits and lawyers for members of the LGBTQ+ community is happening Thursday, July 21 from noon to 7 p.m. at the Heroncrest in Elm Springs.
Marquisa Wince is the executive director of Arkansas Appleseed Legal Justice Center and one of the esquire offering her services at the clinic. She said the clinic will give members of the LGBTQ+ community the power to change their legal names and genders.
Other legal services offered at the Free Legal Clinic are wills, power of attorney, custody and other notary services.
“Folks have valid reasonings for feeling scared, nervous and what this clinic will do is provide some protections and provide some ease of mind for folks there,” said Wince.
Wince said the clinic gives those worried about what LGBTQ+ rights could be removed next a chance to get prepared. She’s offered her services during these types of clinics before and knows the difference it makes for those attending.
“It feels like Christmas. Just the emotions that went along with allowing folks to have the validation, and to have their name match what they want to be called, what they should be called, and walking, holding themselves in this world,” said Wince.
All the spots are filled in the July 21 clinic, but Wince said there’ll be more in the future. She said to follow along with Arkansas Appleseed Legal Justice Center on social media to know when.
Other organizations helping to host the Free Legal Clinic include The Equality Crew, Free Mom Hugs – Arkansas, Legal Aid of Arkansas, NWA Equality, Queer Camp, Transgender Equality Network, and QLaw Arkansas.
Wince recommends you start thinking of what legal services you need and not to hesitate to reach out to any of the groups for help.