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"Opponents of a voter approved measure banning unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children in Arkansas are calling on lawmakers to overturn it.
About 300 people gathered at the Capitol to denounce the ban, known as Act 1 and approved Nov. 4 by voters. Act 1 does not have the power of a constitutional amendment, but does change state law to make fostering and adoption by unmarried people illegal.
A two-thirds vote by the legislature could overturn it.
Protesters carried signs saying “Kids need loving homes: Repeal Act 1.” The rally was organized by a number of LGBT rights groups.
Among the speakers was Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Wendell Griffen who said Act 1 ties the hands of judges to the detriment of children in state care.
“In the name of justice I am here to ask you to say to legislatures please respect the judges that the people of Arkansas have elected to do their job,” he said.
Griffen, who also is a pastor, drew on Biblical references to criticize Act 1, referencing Jesus and Naomi and Ruth from the Old Testament, saying “[none of them] would be allowed to foster or adopt a child according to Act 1.”
Act 1 passed by 57 percent of votes. The voter initiative was organized by the socially conservative group behind the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Although it does not specifically mention same-sex couples, Act 1’s target was gay pairs and grew out of a controversial state supreme court ruling last year.
Arkansas’s Child Welfare Agency Review Board had established a policy in 1999 that banned gay people from serving as foster parents, and the Arkansas Supreme Court struck it down after a seven-year legal battle between the state and the ACLU."
The thought of children who need loving homes and are being denied families who will care for them is enough to drive me to anger and tears. Why should children have to suffer because of the fear and hatred of small-minded, hard-hearted people?