In a measure clearly targeting gay and lesbian couples, Arkansas voters will vote Nov. 4th on a measure to prohibit unmarried couples from fostering or adopting children. Not only would it prevent gay and lesbian couples from adopting, but it is likely to increase the turnout of evangelical voters at the polls for the presidential election to the advantage of John McCain.
The measure is sponsored by the Arkansas Family Council Action Committee, which assembled 85,389 valid signatures of registered voters.
The ballot measure is a response to a 2006 Arkansas Supreme Court decision striking down a state policy that banned gay and lesbian parents from being foster parents. Family Council President Jerry Cox insists that “Arkansas needs to affirm the importance of married mothers and fathers. We need to publicly affirm the gold standard of rearing children whenever we can. The state standard should be as close to that gold standard of married mom and dad homes as possible.”
The result is that the state could leave kids without foster or adoptive parents rater than allow gay or lesbian couples to serve as parents.
The law may find its way to the United States Supreme Court. The state is likely to downplay the targeting of gay and lesbian parents by emphasizing the technical single status of the parents (since the state will not recognize same-sex marriage). Of course, the purpose of the measure is made plain in the literature and statements of the sponsors, which can be considered by a court. That will make for a very interesting challenge.
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