On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, ending marriage discrimination throughout the nation. This decision was quickly implemented by states across the country, including in Arkansas. Read more about the ruling here.
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.
On November 25, U.S. District Court Judge Karen Baker ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in federal court, striking down the Arkansas ban on marriage between same-sex couples.
The ruling followed a May 9, 2014 decision from Arkansas Judge Chris Piazza, which also struck down the state's discriminatory constitutional amendment. The ruling took effect and more than 400 marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples until one week later, when the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a stay in the ruling. On November 20, the AR Supreme Court heard arguments in the case, and a ruling is expected soon.
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.
GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:
- Center for Artistic Revolution is a 501(c)(3)-sponsored statewide organization that strives for fairness and equality for all Arkansans.
- Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.
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
Today, June 10, Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen ruled in favor of respecting the marriages of the over 500 same-sex couples who were married in the "window" of the freedom to marry in Arkansas in 2014.
Here's what's going on in the 13 states where same-sex couples continue to be denied the freedom to marry. Every day of denial in these states is a day too long - and the past year of momentum demonstrates more clearly than ever: America is ready for the freedom to marry.
On Saturday, February 14, private attorneys filed a lawsuit in Arkansas state court seeking respect for two same-sex couples who married in Arkansas during a brief window of marriages between same-sex couples in the state.
Resources Related to Arkansas
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.
Find results for states with anti-gay ballot measures in the 2008 election.
Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Arkansas.