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Arkansas Supreme Court Upholds Ruling Striking Down Ban on Gay Adoption and Foster Care

The Arkansas Supreme Court has upheld a ruling that struck down the state's ban on adoption and foster care by gay couples or other unmarried parents, the AP reports:

Arkansas "The state's high court wrote in an opinion Thursday that the law burdens the privacy of unmarried couples who live together. A state judge struck down the law last April because he said it forced unmarried couples to choose between their relationships and becoming adoptive parents. The attorney general later asked the Supreme Court to reverse that decision, arguing that fostering or adopting a child is not a constitutionally protected right."

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  1. You know, for a Southern state, Arkansas is progressive when it comes to gay rights. Both Arkansas Senators voted in favor of DADT repeal and, of course, Bill Clinton was the first President to really address gay rights. Fayetteville is one of the only small towns in the South with a Pride celebration. Wal-Mart, headquartered in the state, has a non-discrimination policy in place and recently fired a woman in Illinois for making anti-gay comments at work. And a Little Rock school board member was forced to resign after making homophobic remarks on the Web last year.

    The state still produces the likes of Mike Huckabee and it is not as progressive as states on the coasts, but given its location and demographics and compared to adjacent states, it has a pretty good record on gay rights......and this is just the latest example of that

    Just wanted to point that out to those of you in New York and LA who think that all of Heartland America is just one big undifferentiated homophobic wasteland.....

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 7, 2011 11:10:40 AM

  2. As a gay man with two adopted children, I applaud the Arkansas Supreme Court for ruling in favor of families and children, rather than the idiotic regressiveness of some of these cross-eye politicians in Arkansas. And As Rick pointed out, you see the cracks in the veneer of homophobia and bigotry in the middle of the country too. (Believe me, Rick, as a gay man with a husband and two adopted kids who just recently moved from L.A., homophobia isn't exclusive to the middle of the country. We recently moved to the burbs of St. Louis and found that most people are completely non-plussed by our family. The politicians in this state -- who I contact regularly just for annoyance sake -- are another story.)

    Posted by: BartB | Apr 7, 2011 11:24:23 AM

  3. No, "fostering or adopting a child is not a constitutionally protected right," but letting children languish in social services systems apparently is. Until the GOP shuts those down, too.

    Posted by: ANON IN SO CAL | Apr 7, 2011 11:51:37 AM

  4. @Rick, you write: "of course, Bill Clinton was the first President to really address gay rights."

    He sure did. He signed DOMA and DADT into law. We're still fighting those. He could have vetoed them and let the congress try to override; he did not.

    And as Arkansas Attorney General he made sure that the state got itself a sodomy statute, which it never really had before he needed a goodie to get himself into the governor's mansion. And that law stuck around until it was tossed by the Supreme Court in 2003.

    Yep, Old Bill, a friend of gays. Ahem.

    And his wife is against gay marriage too.

    Posted by: Jim Hlavac | Apr 7, 2011 12:31:52 PM

  5. Really, are we refighting Bill Clinton's DOMA and DADT compromises again? I was here in Washington when that went down and networked with a tight group of gay legislative aides and White House staffers. Again (this is public knowledge), Clinton tried to undo the prohibition against gays in the military and overreached, threatening an Executive Order. The military balked and went to Congress, Congress went nuts--they said if he attempted to repeal the prohibition, they would attach the current military regulation to the upcoming budget and make it against federal law to be in the military and be gay--which would additionally cause any commander who "looked away" or "chose not to investigate" to be a potential accomplice in the breaking of not just military regulation, but now federal law. Clinton, a new president who had overreached too early, had to scramble to cut a deal that would avoid such strong language (look up the congressional record and news from that time). The compromise was DADT which made sexual behavior NOT orientation the standard and avoided a the passing of a much stricter federal law. It was a HORRIBLE law, but it was all Clinton (who didn't even have much support from key democrats back then--it's not like it is now) could salvage to not make the situation worse.

    DOMA, again, was a compromise that kept the newly empowered Republicans (Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, the class of '94 who would later impeach Clinton) from making the DOMA provisions a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT that not even the Supreme Court could have overturned. Momentum was going against gay rights and even liberals of that age weren't necessarily for "the gays" in public or private (when the politicians...Bill, Hilary, W, about being on a journey and their feelings about gay rights evolving, they aren't being insincere...a lot of people born in the 40s and 50s spent the 2000s rethinking that which was a sure thing--gays were unnatural--all of their childhood and most of their adult life. Give some of them, my parents included, a break. If Hilary is the most vocal and visble champion of gay rights around the world right now, and the leader in the Cabinet in living that within her organization but she's not there on gay marriage...then at least she's not a hypocrite or pandering. Let her evolve, marriage seems the natural next step for someone who has been a huge champion in every way to date, but also grew up in th 50s and 60s with conservative parents--remember she was a Republican as a young woman!).

    You can look back from TODAY's vantage point and say Clinton "gave us DOMA and DADT" or you can remember what it was like on the ground and what was being threatened (and potentially had the votes) and realize that Clinton was at least an idealist who tried to overturn the prohibition against serving gays in his first 100 days and cut an unpopular deal to keep the situation for gays becoming even worse--and the man who cut the deal that kept marriage between one man and one woman from being introduced to the CONSTITUTION. You can't look at any legislation--the product of fierce compromise and discussion and horse trading--and extrapolate anything to bludgeon a president on, even "W." When every side refuses to compromise on what they believe is right, you get today's republicans, who can't pass a budget or compromise on any sensible legislation because their base will penalize them. We elect legislators, not sheep, and those legislators work with other legislators who represent OTHER views and come up with the middle ground and compromises that serve as many people as possible at that point in time while hurting the fewest. Sadly that art is lost because on both sides we attack every politician who, when faced with the realities fo their job adapts appropriately, for betraying "us."

    Posted by: breckroy | Apr 7, 2011 1:34:18 PM

  6. Jim Hlavac, you need to read Breckroy's post, to which I give an A+.

    DADT and DOMA were the lessor of two evils. There was no other alternative for him to choose. I give kudos to President Clinton for hurting us in the short term to avoid a long-term federal constitutional prohibition. And while you're thinking about that, ask yourself, in the entire history of our country, how many federal constitutional amendments have been repealed and how "easy" that process is.

    Posted by: jaymax | Apr 7, 2011 2:10:57 PM

  7. Thanks Breckroy. A lot of younger people, in particular, simply are not familiar with history and do not understand that until fairly recently, the overwhelming majority of the population was decidedly homophobic. History will record that Bill Clinton was the very first President to make a serious effort to advance gay rights and the first (and only until Obama) to ever even mention gay people in public forums.

    He did what was possible at the time, which was not much, but however flawed the results, his singular accomplishment was to begin a dialogue at the national level on gay rights, which nobody had ever done before and he deserves credit for that...

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 7, 2011 2:48:11 PM

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