Friday, October 3, 2008

We Need More Foster Homes... Not Less

Last week we brought you the story of the first gay couple to legally adopt in Florida. Florida is one of two states left in the U.S. that bans gay people from adopting (along with Mississippi). But there is technically a third...

Arkansas is currently is facing a November ballot initiative to ban "unmarried couples" from fostering or adopting children. As Arkansas does not recognize marriage equality for LGBT people, this would effectively serve as a ban on gay couples (as well as unmarried straight couples) from providing much-needed homes for children in need.

Yesterday, representatives on both sides of the issue argued before the state's Department of Human Services, with Dr. Jill Fussell, a pediatrician and representative of the Arkansas chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics, putting it plainly: ''We need more foster homes, not less.''

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) added that the current policy at the Department of Human Services was enacted after a judge struck down a direct state ban on gay applicants. Even if the Department allows gay and unmarried straight people to adopt now, all of that could change in November if discrimination is enshrined into the state's constitution.

Allies in Arkansas must spread the word that this amendment is a divisive anti-gay and anti-family initiative that not only hurts the LGBT citizens of the state, but generations of children in need of loving and stable homes.

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