Arkansas

LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in the States

LGBTQ Nondiscrimination in Arkansas:

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

The Latest on LGBTQ Nondiscrimination in Arkansas:

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

History of LGBTQ Nondiscrimination in Arkansas:

  • February 10, 2009: Eureka Springs passes a nondiscrimination 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 nondiscrimination ordinances that create a protected class not already in state law. The discriminatory preemption law is a hurdle for passing LGBTQ nondiscrimination 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 nondiscrimination 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 5, 2021