LGBT rights in Arkansas
|LGBT rights in Arkansas|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 2002|
|Adoption||Banned 2009, overturned 2011.|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the U.S. state of Arkansas face some legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Arkansas. Same-sex couples and families headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for all of the protections available to opposite-sex married couples.
 Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
In 2002, the Arkansas Supreme Court in Picado v. Jegley found that the state statute that made sexual relations between people of the same gender a criminal act was unconstitutional because the law violated a fundamental right to privacy and failed to provide the equal protection of the laws.
 Recognition of same-sex relationships
Arkansas has banned the recognition of same-sex marriages, as well as civil unions and any other status similar to marriage, since the passage of Constitutional Amendment 3 by voter referendum in November 2004. The small town of Eureka Springs in Carroll County is the only incorporated place in Arkansas to allow domestic partnerships (since 2007) and healthcare coverage for domestic partners of city workers (since 2011). On November 12, 2012 Eureka Springs became the first city in Arkansas to endorse redefining marriage for same-sex couples by a vote of the city council.
 Adoption and parenting
Arkansas voters approved a ballot measure in November 2008, effective January 1, 2009, to prohibit by statute cohabiting couples who are not in a recognized marriage from adopting and providing foster care. On April 7, 2011, in Arkansas Department of Human Services v. Cole, the Arkansas Supreme Court unanimously found that the measure "fails to pass constitutional muster" because it "directly and substantially burdens the privacy rights of 'opposite-sex and same-sex individuals' who engage in private, consensual sexual conduct in the bedroom by foreclosing their eligibility to foster or adopt children, should they choose to cohabit with their sexual partner."
 Discrimination protection
Arkansas law does not address discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
 Hate crime
Arkansas has no hate crime statute that attaches penalties to criminal convictions when motivated by bias, but a state statute does allow victims to sue for damages or seek court-ordered relief for acts of intimidation, harassment, violence, or property damage "where such acts are motivated by racial, religious, or ethnic animosity", not sexual orientation or identity.
 Gender reassignment
Arkansas law permits transsexuals born in Arkansas to amend their birth certificates upon receipt of a court order verifying that they have undergone sex-reassignment surgery and that their names have been changed.
- Arkansas Sodomy Law
- American Psychological Association: "Jegley v. Picado 80 S.W.3d 332", accessed April 7, 2011
- CNN: Election 2004 - Ballot Measures, accessed April 7, 2011.
- Eureka Springs to Offer Partner Benefits
- Arkansas Times Blog - November 14, 2012
- National Conference of State Legislatures: "Same-Sex Marriage on the 2008 Ballot," November 6, 2008, accessed April 16, 2011
- Metroweekly: Chris Geidner, "Arkansas High Court Strikes Down State's 2008 Adoption Ban," April 7, 2011, accessed April 7, 2011
- Arkansas Non-Discrimination Law
- "Arkansas Hate Crimes Law". State Laws & Legislation. Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
- "Hate Crime Laws". Partnersagainsthate.org. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
- Arkansas Birth Certificate Law: Gender Identity Issues