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Good news in Arkansas

Some common sense in a Red state. Gays and lesbians cannot be barred from becoming foster parents.

Arkansas cannot ban homosexuals from becoming foster parents because there is no link between their sexual orientation and a child’s well-being, the state’s high court ruled Thursday.

The court agreed with a lower court judge that the state’s child welfare board had improperly tried to regulate public morality. The ban also violated the separation of powers doctrine, the justices said.

…”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,” Associate Justice Donald Corbin wrote in the opinion.

In addition, the court said, the testimony of a Child Welfare Agency Review Board member demonstrated that “the driving force between adoption of the regulations was not to promote the health, safety and welfare of foster children but rather based upon the board’s views of morality and its bias against homosexuals.”

The state had tried to argue that a child being raised in a gay household was somehow going to face academic problems or gender identity problems.

Kathy L. Hall is the attorney for the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services, and she used additional inane arguments to try to sell the bigotry:

* The health, safety and welfare of foster children is of the utmost concern to the state — “and that can’t happen in a home where unmarried sex occurs.”

* The state shouldn’t “leave it for chance for the children of Arkansas to be guinea pigs to find out if it is harmful” to be raised in a home with gay foster parents.

* Foster children are already vulnerable and moving them into a home with gay foster parents could subject them to “a culture shock that these kids just don’t need.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding