Posted By Eric Ethington (Author) on April 8, 2011
The Arkansas Supreme Court has just ruled that the State’s new adoption laws, specifically written to mirror Utah’s, are unconstitutional. Hmm… Anyone out here in Utah feel like filing a lawsuit?
Tipped by PRIDEinUtah reader Will C.
On November 4th, 2008, the same night that President Obama was being elected and Prop 8 was passing, Arkansas voters passed “Act 1″ by a 57% margin. This ballot initiative changed the State’s adoption laws to directly mirror Utah’s, meaning that while single people (homosexual or heterosexual) could adopt, couples who were not legally married and recognized in Arkansas were banned from adopting or fostering children.
The new law went into effect almost immediately on Jan 1st of 2009, but it was quickly challenged by a group of unmarried adults, led by Sheila Cole and represented by the ACLU, who wished to foster or adopt children in Arkansas.
The state asked the court to dismiss the case, and when that request was denied, anti-gay extremist group Family Council Action Committee (think of them like Arkansas’ version of The Sutherland Institute) was allowed to sign on as co-defendants.
Cole and the group of brave parents-to-be won the day, and on April 16, 2010 the circuit court declared Act 1 unconstitutional. Now as we all know, court battles (especially those involving children) don’t end there, and the State and the Family Council Action Committee appealed the ruling to the Arkansas Supreme Court.
But once again love, law and common sense won out over the mindless and irrational drivel of The Sutherland Institute..err.. The Family Council Action Committee (oops, Freudian slip sorry).
Writing for the Court, Justice Robert Brown said:
We hold that Cole’s fundamental privacy rights, which are implicit in the Arkansas Constitution, are substantially and directly burdened by Act 1’s prohibition against the ability of cohabiting sexual partners to foster or adopt children. The State’s compelling interest, no doubt, is protection of the welfare of Arkansas’s children, but we further hold that under a heightened-scrutiny analysis, which is the standard that applies to this case, the least restrictive means of serving that interest has not been employed; nor has the application of Act 1 been narrowly tailored, as required.
I wonder if there are any un-married couples here in Utah who would like to be parents? I feel a lawsuit coming..