Arkansas Supreme Court Ruling Against Discrimination Opens Doors to Good Homes for Foster Children

by Admin

'TheArkansas Supreme Court has ruled that all children in foster care deserve to be placed in good homes without discriminatory politics standing in the way,' said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

WASHINGTON - Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese made the following statement today as the Arkansas Supreme Court handed down a ruling saying that no connection exists between a foster child's well-being and sexual orientation of a parent. Any attempt to deny foster children a home headed by a gay family was ruled unconstitutional.

"The Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled that all children in foster care deserve to be placed in good homes without discriminatory politics standing in the way," said Solmonese. "Every child welfare organization has said for years that sexual orientation has no impact on a person's ability to be a good parent. We give enormous thanks to the plaintiffs in this case and the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented these families. Their stories and seven-year fight for fairness have likely resulted in hundreds of potential homes opening up for children in need."

Solmonese continued, "The tide is turning toward fairness for all families. This year, the two states to ban foster parenting for gay parents have had to face sound science and reverse their politically charged and discriminatory policies. With Missouri and now Arkansas moving toward fairness for foster children, there are no explicit restrictions on foster parenting by gay parents."

In 1999, the Arkansas Child Welfare Agency Review Board adopted a regulation barring private child welfare agencies and the state Department of Human Services from allowing gay and lesbian people to serve as foster parents. In December 2004, however, an Arkansas court ruled that this regulation was unconstitutional. The state's highest court affirmed the lower court's ruling on June 29, 2006.

Leslie Cooper and James Esseks, of the ACLU's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project, and ACLU of Arkansas cooperating attorney John Burnett represented the prospective foster parents. Get more information on the case, Howard v. Child Welfare Agency Review Board.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community

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