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.

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. 

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

Arkansas same-sex couples gear up for the freedom to marry at the state Supreme Court

This fall, the Arkansas Supreme Court is set to hear briefing and, eventually, arguments in Wright v. Smith, a legal challenge to a constitutional amendment in Arkansas that bars same-sex couples from sharing in the freedom to marry.

Department of Justice urged to respect legal marriages in 3 states

This week, Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign sent a joint letter to United States Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Department of Justice to act now and ensure that the marriages of same-sex couples performed earlier this year in Arkansas, Indiana, and Wisconsin are respected by the federal government.

PHOTOS: First marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in the South

This morning, after yesterday's landmark ruling in Wright v. Arkansas, where a circuit judge struck down an Arkansas law that prohibits same-sex couples from marrying in the state, same-sex couples began marrying in Eureka Springs, AR.

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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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