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Adoption Ban Struck Down in Arkansas


Arkansas once had a state law that disallowed unmarried, cohabitating couples from becoming adoptive or foster parents – until the Arkansas Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in a unanimous decision, Manhattan Family Lawyers report. They assert, with a circuit judge’s ruling, that the law unconstitutionally burdens fundamental privacy rights.
“This band wouldn’t even allow a relative – gay or straight – to foster or adopt a child with whom they had a close relationship, so long as that relative was unmarried and living with a partner,” an ACLU representative said. “The court clearly saw that this ban violated the constitutional rights of our clients and thousands of other Arkansans.”
A Christian conservative group had another opinion, stating the decision “is the worst ever handed down by the Arkansas Supreme Court.”
“This is a classic example of judicial tyranny,” a representative of the Christian group told Manhattan Family Lawyers. “Unfortunately (the) ruling puts the rights of adults ahead of the rights of children and their welfare.” He and his group are considering making a move to have voters add the measure to the constitution as a constitutional amendment.
This Christian organization proposed the original law in November 2008 and it was passed with 57 percent of the vote. The law was proposed after the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled disallowing same-sex partners to adopt or foster children was unconstitutional.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit to challenge the law, in behalf of unmarried adults who wanted to adopt or foster children, parents who wanted to be able to choose who would adopt their children in case they were no longer able to do so, and the children of such parents.
A circuit judge declared the law cast “an unreasonably broad net”. The state and the Christian group countered that adopting or fostering children is a privilege which is allowed by state law – not a fundamental right.
The Supreme Court of Arkansas believes that the right to engage in private, consensual sexual activity without interference from the state is infringed upon by the law, Manhattan Family Lawyers have learned. Cohabitating sexual partners “must choose either to lead a life of private, sexual intimacy with a partner without the opportunity to adopt or foster children, or forego sexual cohabitation and, thereby, attain eligibility to adopt or foster,” wrote one of the justices.

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