Arkansas High Court Puts Best Interest of Children First
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today hailed the Arkansas Supreme Court's decision upholding a lower court ruling that a law prohibiting adoption by unmarried couples who live together violates the Arkansas Constitution. On Nov. 4, 2008, Arkansas voters approved a statutory ban on adoption and foster parenting by unmarried individuals cohabiting with a sexual partner. Today's ruling affirms an April 2010 ruling by a Pulaski County circuit judge that Initiated Act I of 2008 intrudes on privacy rights guaranteed by the Arkansas Constitution. HRC also congratulates and thanks the American Civil Liberties Union for their work in providing representation in this case.
"The Arkansas Supreme Court has removed a discriminatory barrier for loving gay and lesbian couples who, child welfare experts agree, are equally able parents," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Too many children are in need of a loving home and the court has rightfully put their interests ahead of discrimination."
Today's victory leaves Mississippi and Utah as the only states with adoption bans for unmarried couples, including same-sex couples. Currently the Virginia State Board of Social Services will decide in the coming weeks whether to enact regulations proposed by former Governor Kaine that would prevent discrimination based on marital status by child welfare agencies in the adoption process. Governor Bob McDonnell has until April 16 to make a formal recommendation to the State Board of Social Services and has said publicly he is against the regulations. HRC has called on the Governor and the State Board of Social Services to enact the regulations.
A map detailing adoption laws across the country is available at www.hrc.org/documents/parenting-laws-maps.pdf.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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