Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Arkansas high court unanimously rejects gay adoption ban

I read over at RawStory that the Arkansas supreme court has unanimously rejected that state's ban on gay adoption:

In a unanimous decision and sweeping decision, the Arkansas Supreme Court today struck down a regulation that banned lesbian and gay people from serving as foster parents.

The decision ends a seven-year legal battle between the state and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Pointing to the findings of a lower court that overturned the ban, the Court criticized the Child Welfare Agency Review Board’s reasons for enacting the regulation, writing, “These facts demonstrate that there is no correlation between the health, welfare, and safety of foster children and the blanket exclusion of any individual who is a homosexual or who resides in a household with a homosexual.”

This is great news for two reasons.

  1. Many children in the foster system are in need of supportive homes and this ruling will take away an offensive and unnecessary hurdle to getting kids into the best possible situations.
  2. Perhaps more important nationally, a court from fairly conservative part of the country has analyzed and rejected the "research" that alleges gay folks make bad parents.
The court found that there was no validity to the arguments made by opponents of gay adoption, noting that: Children of lesbian and gay parents are just as well-adjusted as children of heterosexual parents; Being raised by gay parents doesn’t increase the risk of psychological, behavioral, academic, gender identity, or any other sort of adjustment problems; Being raised by gay parents doesn’t prevent children from forming healthy relationships with their peers and others; There is no factual basis for saying that gay parents might be less able to guide their children through adolescence than heterosexual parents; There is no evidence that gay people, as a group, are more likely to engage in domestic violence or sexual abuse than heterosexual people; The exclusion of gay people and people with gay family members may be harmful to children because it excludes a pool of effective foster parents.
I was very excited when I heard this news, not because i know much about foster care policies, but because this seems to portend a more progressive turn in the debate on discrimination based on sexual orientation. If this case is any indication, cooler heads are prevailing.

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