This year, Arkansas passed a measure that will prevent unmarried, cohabiting adults from adopting children or acting as foster parents. The state banned gay marriage in 2004, although this will also affect heterosexual unmarried couples. The measure won by about 130,000 votes. From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
During a vigorous campaign, both sides said their primary concern was what would be in the best interest of children.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Arkansas Advocates, and social-worker and pediatrician associations argued that a blanket ban on potential foster or adoptive parents would unnecessarily restrict the number of homes available for children in need.
On any given day, about 3,700 children are in foster care with only about 1,100 foster homes ready to take them, according to the state Department of Human Services.
Trained child-care professionals like social workers and psychologists should decide where to place children on a case-by-case basis, opponents of the proposed act said.
The Family Council group contended that a married man and woman is the best environment for children and that other types of families harm children in ways that show up later in life.
They also said allowing unmarried, cohabiting adults to foster or adopt children would legitimize lifestyles at one time considered out of the mainstream.
Arkansas joins only a handful of states that explicitly prohibit gay couples from adopting. And by several measures last night, again finds itself on the wrong side of history.