July 15, 2008
The ACLU of Arkansas supports the efforts of Arkansas Families Firstto fight a ballot initiative that would make it illegal for children to be adopted by family members if the family member was living with but not married to a sexual partner. The initiative would also prevent children from being placed with foster parents similarly situated. Utah is the only other state with such a ban.

  • The ban would apply to both heterosexual and gay couples
  • The ban would apply to relatives as well as others, no matter how good the adoptive or foster home was for the child

Whether the potential adoptive or foster person was a relative, a medical professional who could take care of a child with a severe disability, or someone willing to take in a sibling group or older children, this ban would prevent that child from having that home.

  • Children with disabilities, sibling groups and older children are the hardest to place in foster or permanent homes.

These children often end up going from home to home or languishing in group settings or institutions and never finding a real home.

  • The ban would apply to private as well as public adoptions.
  • Children would be denied homes with people who were otherwise qualified to provide homes—those who passed the rigorous set of tests set up by the state.

The initiative is sponsored by an offshoot of the Arkansas Family Council, an organization dedicated to undermining reproductive rights and equality based on sexual orientation. “The group has made no bones about the fact that the measure is aimed at preventing gay couples from parenting,” said ACLU of Arkansas executive director Rita Sklar, “and they are willing to sacrifice children on the altar of their anti-gay ideology, no matter what harm it does these vulnerable children.”