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Arkansas Bill Banning Gay Adoption Dies in Committee

A bill that would have banned gay people and unmarried couples from adopting children or becoming foster parents that had passed a Senate vote by 20-7, failed in a voice vote in the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Arkansas"The bill is a response to a June 2006 state Supreme Court decision upholding a lower court ruling that struck down a state regulation banning gays from becoming foster parents. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Timothy Fox ruled in December 2004 that in imposing the ban the state Child Welfare Review Board overstepped the authority granted by the Legislature. After the ruling, the state stopped asking prospective foster parents about their sexual orientation. [The bill's sponsor Sen. Shawn Womack, R-Mountain Home] testified Tuesday his bill would not be unconstitutional."

WomackAn "expert" licensed counselor who argued that gays cannot provide a stable environment was brought in and challenged by Rep. Kathy Webb, D-Little Rock, who asked if he had read research from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association that argues just the opposite.

In response, the counselor said that it was hard to get an opinion from either side that wasn't biased.

Said Womack, in response to the bill's failure: "I suspect a lot of (lawmakers) will get phone calls over the next few days, and a lot of House members will be upset that they didn't get a chance to vote on this."

The Williams Institute at the UCLA Law School released the results of a study yesterday that said banning adoptions by gay and lesbian couples would cost the U.S. foster care system $130,000,000. (PDF)

$130 million per year.

Why will it cost so much? Dan Savage explains: "Because there are already half a million children in foster care right now, and 100,000 children waiting to be adopted. Gays and lesbians are often willing to adopt children that same-sex couples are not: older children, infants with HIV, children with drug and alcohol exposure. Remove same-sex couples from the pool of potential adoptive parents and more children will remain in foster care longer. Some will remain in foster care forever."

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Comments

  1. The first time in a long time that I've felt proud of (some of) my legislators.

    Posted by: Jeff | Mar 28, 2007 9:16:11 AM


  2. Does this sentence make sense to you? "Gays and lesbians are often willing to adopt children that same-sex couples are not..."

    Posted by: vstill | Mar 28, 2007 9:32:11 AM


  3. that sentance makes a GREAT deal of sense to me

    the type of gay couples I know that adopt are much better men and woman that I

    they work hard to get to adopt any child

    they really want to help children - not just have children

    many straight couples are trying to fill a void that being unable to have children has created in their lives - they want to make that issue go away and a perfect infant makes the issue go away and they get to live the fantasy

    so yeah it makes sense

    gays dont live in the "straight perfect family fantasy" so taking on the older kids or kids with issues is somethin they can deal with

    Posted by: RJP3 | Mar 28, 2007 9:39:21 AM


  4. No, the sentence doesn't make sense...unless you add the term "single" before "...gays and lesbians..."

    However, I think the writer confused "same-sex" with "heterosexual," in all honesty, if you read the entire article.

    Posted by: stm007 | Mar 28, 2007 10:00:37 AM


  5. Or are those the only kids gay's are "allowed" to adopt?

    Not to diminish the importance of it at all, but is it a "we'll take what we can get" mentality?

    Posted by: Jay | Mar 28, 2007 10:00:43 AM


  6. I agree with VSTILL. Read it again RJP3. The quote is comparing Gay's to same-sex couples. Gay's are same-sex couples.

    Posted by: Sayitagain | Mar 28, 2007 10:06:32 AM


  7. Who cares if those children languish in the foster care system as long as we protect OUR family values?

    Most of those kids don't come from OUR type of families anyway (we all know whose families THEY come from).

    Ah, the twisted logic of the conservative mind.

    Posted by: mark m | Mar 28, 2007 10:09:42 AM


  8. Ugh, I am so damned sick of these default arguments for why tax paying, law abiding, community supporting/contributing, gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally with ALL the rights, responsibilities and benefits that come with citizenship.

    I am sick of the "We're at war and desperately short of bodies for cannon fodder in Iraq so we NEED to allow openly gay people to serve in the military along with other unwanteds like criminals and psychopaths” argument for ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

    I am sick of the “We shouldn’t pass amendments to ban civil unions because it might hurt good and perfectly innocent straight couples” argument against DOMAs.

    I am sick of the “We have to let gay people adopt because they pick up the unwanted “dregs” (their feeling, not mine) that straight people produce but don’t want” argument for why gay people/couples should be allowed to adopt or foster children.

    What makes me sicker still is the fact that these arguments seem to originate at HRC headquarters and at gay rights organizations across the country.

    Frankly I don’t see how these arguments help to educate America about the REAL issues of discrimination that are so clearly apparent to anyone with half a brain.

    If we can’t educate Americans about why we are deserving of EQUAL rights, EQUAL protections, EQUAL access, EQUAL benefits and EQUAL responsibilities as well as why discrimination, in ANY form is unacceptable and un-American, without having to tie it directly to a benefit or consequence to non-gays, then we will NEVER really achieve equality.

    We MUST change the message from “equal rights for gays are a good thing because they actually benefit straight people and discrimination against gays is bad because it might inadvertently disadvantage some innocent straight person” to one that simply states that gay people deserve equality because it’s the right thing to do in a free society and discrimination against gays is wrong because DISCRIMINATION against ANYONE is wrong.

    If WE, and rights organizations that claim to represent us, don’t get this message out there then who will? If we continue to send the message that we deserve rights ONLY when we can prove that it will benefit straight America and if we continue to send the message that it’s only inappropriate to discriminate against gays when it might adversely affect straight America then we will always be settling for citizenship by default and we will always be settling for the rights and benefits that straight America can spare. We will continue to take in straight America’s throw away kids, not because they’re all we can get and not because they are “dregs” but because our hearts go out to them with love and compassion because we understand what it’s like to be unwanted because of something over which we have no control. However, at some point in the future, I sincerely hope that we will refuse to settle any longer for straight America’s rights, benefits and responsibilities dregs.

    Posted by: Zeke | Mar 28, 2007 11:17:47 AM


  9. we should start using the term "cross-sex" couples to refer to the opposite of "same-sex". it makes a lot of political sense to me as well, using language to throw off oppression.

    Posted by: dork | Mar 28, 2007 11:21:55 AM


  10. Zeke you are so right.

    BTW, any adoption agency will tell you that straight parents are far more discriminating in adopting children.

    Posted by: Jack! | Mar 28, 2007 1:08:41 PM


  11. Amen Zeke! Basic human rights for humans regardless of sexual orientation because that is the foundational principle of our government. Equal rights and equal responsibilities without caste/class-level divisions. Anything less is unconscionable discrimination.

    Posted by: rudy | Mar 28, 2007 2:43:59 PM


  12. Since the Arkansas Brown Shirt, er Senator mentions non-fascists getting called by his inbred constituency, let's give him a ringy dingy or two in one way or another:

    Senator Shawn Womack (Repug)
    P. O. Box 332, Mountain Home, Akansas 72654
    Office Phone : 870-424-5000
    Fax : 870-424-5500
    E-mail : swomack@arkleg.state.ar.us

    Posted by: Leland | Mar 28, 2007 3:05:22 PM


  13. Good luck with that phone number. It goes to his office, and the voicemail has been full for weeks.

    Posted by: Jordan | Mar 28, 2007 6:07:33 PM


  14. I'm so glad that Kathy Webb (Arkansas' First Openly Lesbian Representative) was there to help kill this legislation. I met her once and she is such a wonderful woman and she owns a really nice little restaurant in West Little Rock.
    Also you should remember that Arkansas still has enormous amounts of problems with racism and that the last schools weren't even fully integrated in the state until the early 1970's (1975 I think is when the last schools were finally integrated). The state is definitely improving but we still have so much work left to improve it, but it is so tempting to leave here for better paying jobs elsewhere once we finish our degrees. Our leaving the state makes it worse though because we don't stay and fight to make our communities better and instead we leave for places that don't require so much work and fear just to live there.

    Posted by: Jason Young | Mar 28, 2007 11:05:59 PM


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