ACLU agrees to wait on restraining order in Arkansas foster, adoptive parent lawsuit

Posted on 14 Jan 2009 at 11:42am
By Associated Press

UPDATE: ACLU spokeswoman clarifies misleading information in AP story. Lawsuit is not being dropped.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The American Civil Liberties Union has has agreed to hold off on its request for a temporary restraining order to halt implementation of a new law that prohibits unmarried couples from serving as foster parents or adoptive parents.

In response to an ACLU request for a restraining order, attorneys for the state said the law hasn’t been applied to anyone yet.

Original AP reports saying that the lawsuit was being suspended led some people to believe the lawsuit was being dropped. But the spokeswoman said Thursday, Jan. 15 that is not the case.

The ACLU sought the restraining order on the behalf of Sheila Cole of Oklahoma, whom the ACLU says wants to adopt her 7-month-old granddaughter while living with a domestic partner. The ACLU says the new law, approved by voters, would prevent Cole’s appointment as the child’s guardian or custodian.

The attorney general’s office says the Cole case hasn’t reached the point where the new law would apply. Court filings said the new law, which took effect Jan. 1, wouldn’t apply in Cole’s case unless the state tried to terminate parental rights to the child.

According to the state, the baby was placed in foster care with a Bentonville family because of injuries the child suffered.

In an agreement reached Monday, Jan. 12, the state will notify the ACLU if it intends to apply the new law to Cole or anyone else.

The ACLU says the new law violates federal and state constitutional rights to due process and equal protection.

Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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