Last edited: February 14, 2005

Sodomy Appeal Reaches Arkansas High Court

The Advocate, November 2, 2001

The fight over Arkansas's 24-year-old antisodomy law has reached the state's supreme court, which has been asked to decide whether sexual activities that are legal for straight people should be illegal for gay people. The New York City-based Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, representing seven Arkansans who say they are gay, filed papers this week responding to state efforts to keep the law alive. Arkansas law, the group said, "singles out gay men and lesbians for criminal condemnation for engaging in the very same conduct freely permitted heterosexuals." Pulaski County circuit judge David Bogard ruled for the seven in April. He said the legislature erred when it banned consensual, noncommercial sexual activities among people of the same gender. Although no one had been prosecuted under the 1977 law, the seven plaintiffs said they feared being charged or convicted or losing their jobs or professional licenses. The office of attorney general Mark Pryor appealed the ruling, filing a brief in August and filing additional material in early October.

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