VICTORY! Cole v. Arkansas challenged Act 1 of 2008, a ballot initiative that prohibited fostering or adoption of children by unmarried couples; since Arkansas did not recognize the marriage of same-sex couples, this included not only unmarried same-sex couples, but same-sex couples married elsewhere. The intent of the law was to categorically ban same sex couples from consideration, without regard to the needs or relationships of the child to the potential foster or adoptive parents, or their suitability as parents.

In 2011, the Arkansas Supreme Court unanimously voted to strike down Act 1.

Participating in the case were 20 individuals from nine different families, including a lesbian who lived with her partner of nine years and was the only relative able and willing to adopt her grandchild, then in Arkansas state care, and several married heterosexual couples who had relatives or friends they wanted to be able to adopt their children if both parents died, but who were disqualified by Act 1.

Status: Years before the U.S. Supreme Court finally recognized the right of same-sex couples to marry, the ACLU case guaranteed that sexual orientation would not be a factor in state decisions about who makes a good parent in the State of Arkansas, bringing us one step closer to full equality.

Date filed

December 8, 2008


Arkansas Supreme Court


Robert L. Brown



Case number