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Rape - Section 5-14-103 (a) A person commits rape if he engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with another person:

  1. By forcible compulsion; or
  2. Who is incapable of consent because he is physically helpless; or
  3. Who is less than fourteen (14) years of age. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this subdivision that the actor was not more than two (2) years older than the victim; or
  4. Not his spouse who is less than sixteen (16) years of age and who is incapable of consent because he is mentally defective or mentally incapacitated

(b) Rape is a Class Y felony.

Sexual Misconduct - Section 5-14-107 (a) A person commits sexual misconduct if he engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with another person not his spouse who is less than sixteen (16) years old.

(b) Sexual misconduct is a Class B misdemeanor.


Update 03/2001:

Friday March 23 5:17 PM ET                   Sodomy Law Said Unconstitutional
By KELLY P. KISSEL, Associated Press Writer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A judge threw out Arkansas' anti-sodomy law Friday, saying it unfairly singles out homosexuals for prosecution.  No one has been prosecuted under the 1977 law. But seven homosexuals brought a lawsuit challenging the law, saying they feared being charged and convicted and losing their jobs or professional licenses.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge David Bogard said the Arkansas Legislature erred when it barred consensual, noncommercial sexual activities between people of the same sex while permitting the same activities among heterosexuals.   The Arkansas law carried a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. 

The state argued that the government had an interest in criminalizing behavior that most of its citizens would find morally inappropriate, but Bogard disagreed.     ``The people of Arkansas have the right to legislate on issues involving morals, but homosexuality is not only a question of morals,'' Bogard said.   Bogard said a way of life ``that is odd or even erratic'' cannot be condemned just because it is different.

Ruth Harlow, legal director of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York, which represented the group, said that even though no one was prosecuted, its members did not like being branded as criminals.  ``The law hangs over their heads and treats them like second-class citizens,'' she said. ``It says it's illegal when you do it but not when your neighbor does, as long as they are heterosexual.''

The Arkansas attorney general's office said it has not decided whether to appeal.   Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are the only other states that outlaw sodomy between same-sex partners. [EDITOR:  This is not correct.]

Same Topic:

Press Releases 03/23/2001                  Arkansas Court Strikes Down Anti-Gay Sodomy Law
With 7 Arkansans, Lambda wins ruling that law violated rights to privacy, equal protection

(NEW YORK, March 23, 2001) — Ruling Friday that it is unconstitutional for Arkansas to ban consensual sex for adult same-sex couples, a court overturned the state’s anti-gay sodomy law in response to a challenge from seven lesbian and gay state residents, represented by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.

The ruling emphasized that government oversteps when it tries to dictate highly intimate, personal decisions and when it singles out one group of people for a rule not applied to others.   “This is a victory for every resident of Arkansas. It stresses that the state’s constitution shields their bedrooms from Big Brother,” said Lambda Legal Director Ruth E. Harlow, adding, “It’s a
ruling that also liberates lesbians and gay men from the second-class citizenship this law imposed.”

“(I)t is consistent with this State’s Constitution to hold that an adult’s right to engage in consensual and noncommercial sexual activities in the privacy of that adult’s home is a matter of intimate personal concern which is at the heart of the right to privacy in Arkansas,” ruled Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge David B. Bogard, adding, “and this right should not be diminished or
afforded less constitutional protection when the adults engaging in that private activity are of the same gender.”

Under the overturned law, Arkansas singled out same-sex couples for a criminal ban on consensual sex, including oral and anal sex, with punishment of up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. The law did not apply to non-gay couples.   Thus, the court further found, “the Sodomy Statute simply does not have equal application, it unjustifiably discriminates, and thus is unconstitutional” under the Arkansas right to equal protection.

State constitutional rights also have been critical to the elimination of invasive sodomy laws in many other states, including Georgia, Kentucky, Montana, and Tennessee. In the 1960's, all states still criminalized oral and anal sex. Now, only three states – Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas – have gay-specific sodomy laws and just 12 others still criminalize certain sex acts for both gay and non-gay consenting adults.

Lambda currently is challenging Texas’s “Homosexual Conduct Law” in a case stemming from the arrest of two men having consensual sex at home.    Lambda is the oldest and largest legal organization dedicated to the civil rights of lesbians, gay
men, and people with HIV and AIDS. With 15 attorneys, Lambda has its headquarters in New York and regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta. Lambda will open an office in Dallas in 2002.    (Picado v. Jegley, No. CV 99-7048)




07-2000 New Source: U.S. statutory rape laws is published on the Web by the National
Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information. The booklet, which
requires Adobe Acrobat to read, is located at:

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