March 16, 2011

CONTACT: Robyn Shepherd, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666; [email protected]

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arkansas will present arguments before the Arkansas Supreme Court Thursday, March 17 at 9:00 CDT to ask that the court uphold a ruling striking down Arkansas' ban on unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, from adopting or serving as foster parents. In April 2010 the Pulaski County Circuit Court found that the law, known as Act 1, did not serve the state's interest in determining what is best for children. The state of Arkansas is challenging the circuit court's ruling.

Act 1 does not prevent single people who live alone from adopting or fostering children in Arkansas, and does not bar unmarried cohabiting couples from serving as guardians. The ACLU's brief states that the law serves no purpose other than to exclude qualified foster and adoptive applicants, with a particular unfounded and unlawful prejudice against same-sex couples. The brief points out that the Arkansas Supreme Court, ruling in a 2006 case that struck down a law explicitly banning gay people from serving as foster parents, found that there is absolutely no connection between a person's sexual orientation and their ability to parent.

More information on the case is available at:

WHAT: Arguments in state's appeal of a lower court's ruling striking down Arkansas' ban on unmarried couples adopting or serving as foster parents.

Garrard R. Beeney of Sullivan and Cromwell will argue on behalf of the ACLU's clients before the Arkansas Supreme Court. Christine P. Sun, senior counsel with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project and clients Stephanie Huffman, Wendy Rickman, Meredith Scroggin, Frank Pennisi and Matt Harrison will be present and available for questions.

WHEN: Thursday, March 17, 2011 9:00 a.m. CDT WHERE: Justice Building 625 Marshall Street Little Rock, AR 72201