Major Victory for GLBT Community: Arkansas Court Strikes Down Sodomy Law
National Gay and Lesbian
Task Force Press Release, March 23, 2001
Contact: David Elliot, Communications Director
202-332-6483 ext. 3303
1700 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC
An Arkansas circuit court judge Friday declared the states ban on
consensual sex between adult, same-sex couples to be a violation of the state
constitution, handing a victory to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
(GLBT) community in Arkansas and across the nation.
Seven gay and lesbian plaintiffs, represented by the Lambda Legal Defense
and Education Fund, filed suit against Arkansas so-called sodomy law,
charging that it violates the right to equal protection clause of the Arkansas
Constitution. Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge David Bogart agreed, stating,
"It is consistent with this States Constitution to hold that an adults
right to engage in consensual and noncommercial sexual activities in the
privacy of that adults home is a matter of intimate personal concern which
is at the heart of the right to privacy in Arkansas."
Elizabeth Toledo, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task
Force, said the courts ruling is important because religious conservatives
who oppose civil rights for GLBT people often use states antiquated sodomy
laws as a justification for denying those rights.
"Antiquated sodomy laws are at the heart of the religious rights
efforts to ostracize and denigrate the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
community," Toledo said. "We are grateful to the Lambda Legal
Defense and Education Fund and to the seven Arkansas residents who stood up
and challenged this discriminatory law. Today is a wonderful day for our
community in Arkansas and across the United States."
Four states Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri have sodomy laws
that single out gay and lesbian people, although Missouris law has been
struck down by a lower court. 13 other states have sodomy laws that outlaw
some forms of both heterosexual and homosexual activity.
[Home] [News] [Arkansas]