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Arkansas Supreme Court rules gay adoption ban ‘unconstitutional’

Thursday, April 7, 2011

In a unanimous ruling, the Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a voter-approved initiative that barred gay couples and other unmarried people living together from adopting or serving as foster parents.

Voters approved the measure in 2008 after the state Supreme Court overturned a Human Services Department policy preventing gay men and lesbians from serving as foster parents in 2006.

The high court upheld a lower court ruling that said the law unconstitutionally violates fundamental privacy rights.

The law, known as Act 1, was proposed to voters as a ballot initiative by the Family Council in November 2008 and passed with 57 percent of the vote. The Family Council proposed the initiative after a state policy against allowing same-sex couples to adopt or foster children was ruled unconstitutional.

In December 2008, a group of Arkansas residents filed a lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court challenging the law. The group included unmarried adults who wanted to adopt or foster children, parents who wanted to choose who would adopt their children in the event of their incapacitation or death, and the children of those parents.

In April 2010, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled the law did not accomplish a compelling state interest and instead cast “an unreasonably broad net.” He said the law forced unmarried couples to choose between their relationships and becoming adoptive parents.

The state and the Family Council argued that adopting or fostering children is as a privilege bestowed by state law and not a fundamental right.

“Act 1’s blanket ban provides for no such individualized consideration or case-by-case analysis … and makes the assumption that in all cases where adoption or foster care is the issue it is always against the best interest of the child to be placed in a home where an individual is cohabiting with a sexual partner outside of marriage,” the court said in its opinion.

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Filed under: Arkansas

18 more reader comments:

  1. wowowowowowoooo

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 10:33am
  2. Woohooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :]

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 10:33am
  3. Yay!!!

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 10:37am
  4. yeahhh

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 10:39am
  5. way to go

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 10:39am
  6. ;*)

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 10:43am
  7. yay, now to pass a vote to bar stupid people from destroying human rights

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 11:05am
  8. Just proves that civil rights don’t belong in the voters hands.

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 11:16am
  9. Just proves that civil rights don’t belong in the voters hands.

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 11:16am
  10. i think they should vote on it, that way we know who isnt a real american, all men are created equal. if you go against the constitution in that fact then you are not an american. you are a fraud. if you dont believe that everyone is equal than perhaps we should all vote if you should have rights or not. this is a civil approach. if it were up to me you would be deported and exiled.

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 11:25am
  11. Just think its entertaining how as backassward as Ark is they make this ruling but states like ok and tx who arent as are shown to be more backassward lol

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 12:09pm
  12. So is it now legal there or still illegal?

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 12:31pm
  13. IT SURE IS.. UNCONSTITUTIONAL.. WHO THE HELL WOULD PUT A BAN ON GAY ADOPTION..ITS SUPER RETARDED. WOW… IM IN SHOCK SUCH A THING EXIST.. SHAME ON ARKANSAS.

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 9:34pm
  14. Glad someone agree’s! Because there are many children that deserve loving homes, and gay parents can provide so much love!

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 10:51pm
  15. Wait wait what. Arkansas. ARKANSAS overturned this. AR. KAN. SAS.

    Posted on Friday, April 8, 2011 at 2:53am
  16. My god, there might be hope for us yet.

    Posted on Friday, April 8, 2011 at 2:53am
  17. Arkansas did this? Is this a late April Fools joke?

    Posted on Friday, April 8, 2011 at 5:56am
  18. Great news.

    Posted on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 10:09am