CommunityPam's House Blend

Arkansas house panel rejects gay foster parent ban

I’m glad this proposal died (in a voice vote) in committee. It’s unfortunate that a Dem governor actually supports a ban if they can find a way to to pass constitutional muster.

The proposal, by Sen. Shawn Womack, R-Mountain Home, failed in the House Judiciary Committee after no one on the committee moved to pass it. The panel had rejected an amendment Womack offered that would have allowed gays to adopt children if they were related to the child.

Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Jon Woods, R-Springdale, brought the measure up again for the committee to reconsider. Representatives did not discuss the bill, and it failed on a voice vote.

Last year the state’s Supreme Court struck down a policy that would have banned gays and lesbians from becoming foster parents. It wasn’t clear how the state would be able to enforce this if it went into effect. After all, how do you prove someone is gay?

“If a person wants to adopt a child from what you want to protect them from, which is abuse, obviously they’re not of high moral character at that point and I doubt they’re going to be dissuaded by (checking) a box on a form,” said Rep. David “Bubba” Powers, D-Hope. “It seems a very small hurdle to jump.”

The measure faced the skepticism of Gov. Mike Beebe, who said the proposal has constitutional problems. Last year, Beebe said he would support banning gays from fostering children if legislation could be drawn that passed constitutional muster.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding