Arkansas

STATUS:

Anti-relationship recognition constitutional amendment; a circuit judge in Arkansas has ruled that the amendment is unconstitutional, and the decision is now on appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court, with the ruling stayed. The Arkansas Supreme Court will hear the case November 20, and a federal judge will hear a separate case on the same day. 

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

On May 9, 2014, Judge Chris Piazza of Arkansas upheld same-sex couples' freedom to marry, striking down the state’s discriminatory constitutional amendment and declaring that the law violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection and due process. One week later, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a stay in the ruling as it considers the case.

In the one week where same-sex couples had the freedom to marry in the state, more than 400 marriage licenses were issued. 

A hearing in the case is now scheduled before the Arkansas Supreme Court for November 20. On the same day, a federal judge will hear arguments in a separate case, Jernigan v. Smith

Marriage supporters across the state are continuing to speak out in favor of equality, working to overturn anti-marriage laws in Arkansas so that all same-sex couples can share in the freedom to marry.

Read more about marriage litigation in Arkansas.

HISTORY:

In November 2004, anti-gay forces in Arkansas pushed through an anti-marriage constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage and prohibits them from attaining any other form of legal family status. In 2008, the state also passed a discriminatory anti-adoption and foster care measure.

GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:

RECENT POLLING

Support for the freedom to marry continues to grow in Arkansas with 53% of voters under 30 supporting marriage and 53% of all voters in Arkansas supporting some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples (Public Policy Polling, May 2014).

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 4,226 same-sex couples are living in Arkansas, representing 3.7 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.  

Blog Posts Related to Arkansas

Finishing the Job: how marriage is moving forward nationwide

Now, as momentum surges across the country, it is more important for supporters to do all they can to speak out for the freedom to marry nationwide. Here's what's going on in the 4 other states set up for the freedom to marry soon, plus the 15 where same-sex couples continue to be denied the freedom to marry.

Over 100 first responders urge AR Supreme Court to rule for the freedom to marry

This week, more than 100 emergency medical workers, police officers, and firefighters came together to file an amicus brief in Smith v. Wright, the legal challenge to Arkansas’ constitutional amendment denying the freedom to marry to same-sex couples.

43 Arkansas faith leaders urge AR Supreme Court to rule for the freedom to marry

Today, 43 faith leaders from Arkansas came together to file an amicus brief in Smith v. Wright. The “friend-of-the-court” brief outlines the urgency and importance of ending the exclusion of committed couples from marriage in Arkansas.

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Resources Related to Arkansas

Census 2010: More Gay Parents Raising Children in South

UCLA demographers analyzing 2010 Census Bureau data have found that same-sex couples raising children are more common in the South than in any other region in the United States.

Results from Ballot Measures in AZ, AR, CA, CT and FL

Find results for states with anti-gay ballot measures in the 2008 election.

Arkansas Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Arkansas.

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