Governor wants Legislature to pass new law preventing gays, lesbians from becoming foster parents
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas The Republican governor of Arkansas says he hopes the Legislature considers reimposing a ban on gay foster parents after it was struck down by the state Supreme Court.
“I’m very disappointed that the court seems more interested in what’s good for gay couples than what’s good for children needing foster care,” Governor Mike Huckabee said June 30 through his spokeswoman, Alice Stewart.
The state Supreme Court on June 29 upheld a lower court decision that threw out a ban on gays and lesbians serving as foster parents. Four people sued after the policy was put in effect in 1999. The state Child Welfare Board dropped the policy after losing a court fight in 2004.
Arkansas Health and Human Services spokeswoman Julie Munsell said the four who successfully challenged the policy have not applied to be foster parents.
The court ruling left open the possibility that legislators could enact a ban by law or possibly give a state board authority to do so.
But Rita Sklar, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Arkansas, said the court ruling itself could make legislation difficult to pass. She cited language in the ruling that said there was no connection between homosexuality and a child’s welfare.
In the unanimous ruling, the court said testimony in the state’s appeal demonstrated that “the driving force behind adoption of the regulations was not to promote the health, safety and welfare of foster children but rather based upon the board’s views of morality and its bias against homosexuals.”
Being raised by gays or lesbians doesn’t cause academic problems or gender identity problems, as the state had argued, the Supreme Court said.
A Florida ban on adoptions by gays and lesbians was upheld in a federal court and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the ACLU.
Utah and Mississippi also restrict gay adoptions.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 7, 2006