ACLU’s Sklar calls says request is "irrational and discriminatory"
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Attorney General Dustin McDaniel asked a judge on Friday, Jan. 16 to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a new law banning unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children.
McDaniel asked Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The group sued the state on behalf of more than a dozen families seeking to overturn the law that went into effect Jan. 1 after voters approved the ban in November.
The ACLU last week withdrew its request for a temporary restraining order to suspend the law on behalf of a plaintiff who wanted to adopt her granddaughter. The woman, Sheila Cole, 39, of Tulsa, Okla., was granted temporary custody of her granddaughter by a judge this week. Cole lives with her lesbian partner in Tulsa, Okla
In the lawsuit, the families claim that the act’s language was misleading to voters and that it violates their constitutional rights.
In a brief filed with the court, McDaniel argued that adopting or fostering children is not a constitutionally protected right.
"No constitutional right is violated by Act 1, if a plaintiff who has no right to adopt or foster chooses to maintain their relationship. No constitutional right is violated by Act 1, if a plaintiff chooses to end their unmarried relationship in order to adopt or foster," McDaniel’s office said in the brief.
Rita Sklar, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas, said the group was not surprised by the motion to dismiss and called the act "irrational and discriminatory."
"We’ll of course review the motion and respond to it, as we are eager to get on with our fight on Act 1," Sklar said.
The Arkansas Family Council, a conservative group that campaigned for the foster and adoption restriction, also filed a motion to intervene in the case. The group noted that McDaniel had opposed the measure during the fall campaign and said he may not make the same arguments the supporters of the measure would in court.
McDaniel has said he has no plans to step aside from the case and has said he would welcome the council if it attempts to intervene.