Last edited: December 31, 2004



  • Statute: 5-14-122, Sodomy, found unconstitutional July 5, 2002.
  • Penalty: 1 year/$1000
  • Classification: Misdemeanor
  • Restrictions: Same-sex only

Arkansas repealed in 1975. In 1977, following the Anita Bryant flap, the law was reinstated, although in the specifically anti-Gay format. The law was found unconstitutional by Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge David B. Bogard in Picado v. Jegley, No. CV 99-7048, 2001. 

In Bryant v. Picado, June 1999, as part of a decision on a prejudgment appeal, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the case should be transferred to circuit court. Also in that ruling, the Supreme Court rejected an argument by the defendants that the lawsuit didn’t present a controversy worthy of the court’s attention because none of the plaintiffs had been charged under the law.

In a later ruling, the Supreme Court dismissed the attorney general’s office as a defendant in the lawsuit. Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley became the sole defendant, representing prosecutors across the state.

An appeal was been made to state Supreme Court which ruled the law unconstitutional on July 5, 2002 in Picado v. Jegley.


§ 5-14-122. Sodomy.

(a) A person commits sodomy if such person performs any act of sexual gratification involving:

  1. The penetration, however slight, of the anus or mouth of an animal or a person by the penis of a person of the same sex or an animal; or
  2. The penetration, however slight, of the vagina or anus of an animal or a person by any body member of a person of the same sex or an animal.

(b) Sodomy is a Class A misdemeanor.

History. Acts 1977, No. 828, § 1; A.S.A. 1947, § 41-1813.


            1864     Arkansas eliminates the existing racial discrimination in the penalty for sodomy by raising the penalty to death for everyone. No death sentences are carried out under the law, however. This law, though found in the state’s session laws, is not found in any published code for the state, either having been overlooked by a compiler, or intentionally ignored due to embarrassment.

            1950     Although there are many hundreds of reported sodomy cases in the United States, many of which give much personal detail, an Arkansas case this year is the only one in U.S. history that mentions the circumcision status of a partner in a male-male encounter.

            1955     Arkansas lowers its minimum penalty for sodomy from five years to one year, noting that juries were reluctant to convict defendants with such a severe penalty.

            1975     Arkansas becomes the first Southern state to repeal its consensual sodomy law when it enacts a comprehensive criminal code revision. However, in 1977, during Anita Bryant’s anti-Gay crusade, it reinstates the law, this time as applicable only to people of the same sex.


[Home] [News] [History]