Arkansas

LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in the States

LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in Arkansas:

There are currently no explicit, comprehensive statewide laws establishing LGBTQ non-discrimination in Arkansas. In 2015, Arkansas lawmakers passed Act 137, which prohibits local municipalities from passing non-discrimination measures that exceed state law. The law effectively forbids cities and towns from passing inclusive, welcoming non-discrimination ordinances. 

The Latest on LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in Arkansas:

LGBTQ Arkansans continue to fight for comprehensive non-discrimination protections. Efforts are underway to repeal the discriminatory Act 137 and push forward LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination ordinances at the local level.

History of LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in Arkansas:

  • February 10, 2009: Eureka Springs passes a non-discrimination ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, and public accommodations, becoming the first in Arkansas to do so.
  • February 13, 2015: The Arkansas Legislature passes the Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act (Act 137), banning municipalities from enacting non-discrimination ordinances that create a protected class not already in state law. The discriminatory preemption law is a hurdle for passing LGBTQ non-discrimination in Arkansas and at the local level. 
  • 2015–2017: Several cities and towns throughout Arkansas – including Little Rock and Fayetteville – pass local ordinances protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, building momentum for statewide protections and overturning the anti-LGBTQ Act 137.
  • February 23, 2017: Following an ongoing fight for LGBTQ non-discrimination protections in Fayetteville, which includes several ballot fights and court disputes, the Arkansas Supreme Court strikes down the Fayetteville non-discrimination law.

Last updated January 11, 2018