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ADF: Voter-approved Act 1 adoption, foster care law should be upheld

ADF attorneys file opening brief with Arkansas Supreme Court in lawsuit filed by ACLU
Parents with Child

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Attorneys and allied attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed their opening brief with the Arkansas Supreme Court Wednesday in defense of Act 1, a voter-approved measure that protects children who are adopted or placed into foster care.  An Arkansas judge struck down the law in April in a decision that erroneously characterized voters as attempting to target “homosexual couples…one politically unpopular group” even though the law does not do so. Act 1 explicitly states that it “applies equally to cohabiting opposite-sex and same-sex individuals.”

Passed by voters in November 2008 by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent, Act 1 gives children the opportunity to be placed in the best home environments and puts their need for stable homes ahead of the desire of unmarried, cohabiting couples seeking children. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit Cole v. Arkansas Department of Human Services to tear down the law shortly after it passed.

“The understanding by voters that children deserve the most stable home possible should not be twisted by the ACLU into something it’s not just so they can pursue their political agenda,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Byron Babione.  “Arkansas voters cast their ballots to ensure that children wouldn’t be deprived of the best possible family environment and decisively approved Act 1 for that purpose only. There is absolutely no basis to question their intentions or overturn their voice on this matter.”

According to the brief filed with the Arkansas Supreme Court, the case “concerns an unprecedented court-imposed rule requiring that--for the first time--the State must begin knowingly placing vulnerable children in a historically unstable and unhealthy family structure…. The circuit court’s ruling conflicts with the purpose of the State’s adoption system, controlling Arkansas cases, the Arkansas Constitution, and common sense--all of which affirm the primacy of children’s needs rather than adults’ wants. This Court should reverse the judgment below and uphold the sounder judgment of the people of Arkansas about how to protect children in the State’s care.”

Act 1 reads, “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. The prohibition of this section applies equally to cohabiting opposite-sex and same-sex individuals.”

Scientific research consistently establishes that a home with a married mother and father is the best possible living environment for children.

ADF attorneys represent the Family Council Action Committee, which successfully carried out the petition drive and campaign for Act 1 and is defending the act along with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office. Attorney Martha Adcock, one of more than 1,800 attorneys in the ADF alliance, is serving as local counsel in the case.

  • Pronunciation guide: Babione (Babby-own)

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. ADF President Alan Sears is co-author with Craig Osten of the book The ACLU vs. America.