The Eyes of Culture Warriors are on Arkansas
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel approved language for an act that would make it no longer legal for single people to be adoptive or foster parents in Arkansas. I use the awkward phrase “no longer legal” because it has been legal and there is no history of problems with the system as it currently exists. In fact, the needs of a great many parentless children, and there are more of them than there are parents to care for them, are met under current laws.
So why is the Arkansas Family Council pushing for this ban on single adoptive parents now? Because thanks in large part to the AFC and the 2004 constitutional marriage amendment, gay people in Arkansas are forever single in the eyes of the law. A single parent ban would allow them to squash gay parents. You know my motto, whenever you see the words “family” and “council” together, you can bet someone is fear-mongering and trying to strip away rights at the same time. (I need to come up with a catchier version of that motto, but you get the point.)
The history goes like this. Back in July 2006 every single judge on the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that declared unconstitutional a ban that would keep qualified gay parents from adopting or foster parenting children. Here is what the court, including a judge who was hand selected by former governor Mike Huckabee (R) had to say about the proposed ban:
“Children of lesbian and gay parents are just as well-adjusted as children of heterosexual parents; Being raised by gay parents doesn’t increase the risk of psychological, behavioral, academic, gender identity, or any other sort of adjustment problems; Being raised by gay parents doesn’t prevent children from forming healthy relationships with their peers and others; There is no factual basis for saying that gay parents might be less able to guide their children through adolescence than heterosexual parents; There is no evidence that gay people, as a group, are more likely to engage in domestic violence or sexual abuse than heterosexual people; The exclusion of gay people and people with gay family members may be harmful to children because it excludes a pool of effective foster parents…
The Court went on to say that the state’s argument to the contrary “flies in the face” of the scientific evidence about the suitability of lesbian and gay people as foster parents. The Court added that “the driving force behind adoption of the regulation was not to promote the health, safety, and welfare of foster children, but rather based upon the Board’s view of morality and its bias against homosexuals.”
(Courtesy PageOne Q)
Unwilling to consider the research seriously and despite the fact that there is no history of problems with gay people adopting or foster parenting, the Arkansas Family Council is trying to put the issue on to the ballot under the guise of a single-parent adoption ban.
The AFC must gather 62,000 signatures to put the measure on the ballot in November. I predict they will succeed. If the measure passes it will be because the public will not take the time to look at the research the court saw and because the evangelical fringe will fan the flames of fear with rumor and religious hearsay. And in their misguided zeal the voters, thinking they are protecting children and/or teaching “the gays” another lesson will further disadvantage young people already struggling to find homes.
If my prediction turns out to be wrong I will make a special trip to Arkansas to shout, “I am a giant douche bag!” from the steps of the Capitol building.