Arkansas

Arkansas legal documents designed to protect your family no matter your relationship status

Arkansas

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Rainbow Law has a document package designed to protect same-sex partners in Arkansas. We offer 9 unique Affordable Document Packages, Individual Legal Documents and FREE Advance Directives to help protect your rights and the rights of your family. To order a legal document package that complies with Arkansas law, hover your mouse over the “Buy A Package” link in the top menu and click on the package that best suits your needs in the drop-down list. If you’re not sure what package is right for you, click this link and we’ll help you figure out what you need.

Although the US Supreme Court has held that the federal government cannot discriminate against gay and lesbian couples legally married and living in a state that recognizes that marriage, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples living in Arkansas are not legally recognized as spouses even if they were married in a marriage equality state or country.

Arkansas same-sex partners and family members may experience discrimination in many different ways. Some of them, like snubbing by your family of origin or by complete strangers in a social setting, can’t be dealt with legally; they require a set of adaptive behaviors, including education, humor, and a thick skin. But typical anti-discrimination laws do cover several areas.

Here is a run-down on Arkansas law affecting the LGBTQ community:

1 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.

On July 2, 2013, 11 same-sex couples, some of whom have already married in Iowa and some of whom were registered as domestic partners in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and on behalf of two of their children, filed a lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court challenging the state constitution’s Amendment 83, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman and bars the recognition of same-sex unions established in other jurisdictions. It named nine state and several country clerks as defendants. In addition to claiming claim that it violates their rights to privacy, due process, and equal protection, the suit contends that the amendment violates the full faith and credit clause. On July 15, 2013, a similar lawsuit was filed in federal court.

On June 27, 2013, a day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor, Arkansans for Equality submitted proposed language for a 2014 ballot measure that would repeal the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. On July 9, 2013, a different group, the Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality (AIME), which was formed in November 2012, submitted to the Arkansas Attorney General proposed language for the Arkansas Marriage Equality Amendment, a similar ballot measure but instead for the 2016 ballot.Attorney General Dustin McDaniel rejected the proposal for the 2014 ballot on July 12 and again on August 12, and the proposal for the 2016 ballot on September 18, each time citing problems with the wording. On September 19, he accepted the proposal for the 2014 ballot.

2 Adoption Law: 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.”

3 Anti-Discrimination Law: Arkansas law does not address discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. 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.

4 Sodomy Law: 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.

5Gender Identity: 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.

6Public Opinion: A June 2013 survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Target Point Consulting found that 36% of Arkansans support legalizing same-sex marriage, while 55% oppose it. Among respondents below the age of 30, support is at 61%. The survey also found that 63% to 61% support employment discrimination protections, by respectively state and federal legislation.

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