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Arkansas – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Documentation of Discrimination

Abstract

Arkansas has no state statutes or local ordinances prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The only two attempts to include such protections for public employees were subsequently rescinded. In 1990, one Arkansas county added sexual orientation as a protected class to its personnel policy. That policy was rescinded in 1998 because opponents argued that it was not required under federal law and that it validated “repugnant” and “immoral” sexual behaviors. In 1998, when a city council in Arkansas passed a resolution against sexual orientation discrimination in city employment, that resolution was quickly vetoed by the city’s mayor. When the city council overrode the veto, the protection was repealed by voters. No Arkansas counties or cities have since prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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