A ballot measure that would ban unmarried couples from fostering or adopting children has been approved for the November ballot in Arkansas. The measure is aimed at banning gay and lesbian couples from being foster or adoptive parents, but would also apply to unmarried heterosexual couples.
The measure states both that “a minor may not be adopted or placed in a foster home if the individual seeking to adopt or to serve as a foster parent is cohabiting with a sexual partner outside of a marriage which is valid under the constitution and laws of this state” and that “the prohibition of this section applies equally to cohabiting opposite-sex and same-sex individuals.” A constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage in Arkansas was approved by voters in 2004.
The measure will likely face legal challenges. Spokeswoman Debbie Willhite of Arkansas Families First told The Morning News last week that her group was considering challenges on the basis of signature validity, constitutionality, and whether the measure’s title is sufficiently descriptive.
Arkansas Family Council Action Committee President Jerry Cox said that “Arkansas needs to affirm the importance of married mothers and fathers…we need 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,” according to the Associated Press.