Momentum Building Against Arkansas Adoption Ban?

Earlier this week we reported on Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe’s
softening support for restricting foster care and adoption to
married, heterosexual couples in his state.

The situation in Arkansas has not been good. Over the last few
years, a state policy discriminating against gays and lesbians in
foster care has been overturned by the State Supreme Court, only to
be reinstated in a different form: restricting foster care to
married, heterosexual couples.

Legislators tried to pass a bill last year to make this Department
of Human Services policy state law. It didn’t pass, but the
Arkansas Family Council, a right wing group, collected enough
signatures this past summer to put the question of foster
care/adoption on the ballot this November. In just a few short
weeks, Arkansans will vote on whether gay and lesbian people in
their state can ever foster or adopt children again.

A light broke in the clouds this week, however, when the Department
of Human Services voted to repeal its policy barring unmarried
couples from fostering children. 

John Selig, Director of the Department of Human Services, said,
“Throughout this process we listened to many people including those
with whom we do casework and the public regarding the needs of
foster children. Recognizing that this is a sensitive societal
issue, it’s important to expand our recruitment base so that we can
find a family that best meets the needs of every child.”

The Family Equality Council applauds the department’s fair-minded
ruling serving the best interests of children, NOT the best
interests of the anti-gay industry that employs itself by
fundraising for these hateful measures. Whether this decision will
positively impact efforts to defeat the upcoming ballot measure or
not we don’t yet know. We do know that this decision will further
activate proponents of the ban, and our community should respond in

If foster care and adoption are important to you and your family,
we encourage you to contribute to the Arkansas Families First campaign to
defeat the foster/adoption ban this Election Day. The Family
Equality Council was there at the founding of this campaign. We
contributed thousands of dollars in seed money because we know just
how important this issue is to our families.

If this amendment passes, it will be the first time in the history
of the United States that a ban on gays and lesbians fostering and
adopting children was voted on by citizens and added to a state
constitution. Not even the infamous Florida adoption ban goes this

We’ll keep you updated in the final weeks of the campaign. Do what
you can and give to the Arkansas Families First campaign