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 heard the case on Nov. 20.

Separately, on November 25, a federal judge also ruled that the marriage ban is unconstitutional.  

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

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.

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

Over 1,000 Arkansans urge Attorney General not to defend discrimination

On December 10, a petition with over 1,000 signatures was delivered to Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, urging him to stand on the right side of history and let the November 25 ruling in Jernigan v. Crane stand.

After year of momentum, same-sex couples and families give thanks on Thanksgiving

This holiday season, as we spend time with our family, we feel thankful for what we've accomplished this year -- we've won the freedom to marry in eighteen states (for a total of 35 and our nation's capital) and seen marriage move forward across the country.

Federal judge strikes down Arkansas marriage ban, adding to national momentum

Today, November 25, U.S. District Court Judge Karen Baker ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Arkansas, declaring the state's Amendment 83, which limits the freedom to marry to different-sex couples, is unconstitutional.

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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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