A ban against unmarried couples becoming foster or adoptive parents is scheduled to appear on Arkansas ballots this fall – and some say the measure is geared at denying homosexuals the chance to raise children.
The Arkansas Family Council Action Committee submitted 85,389 of the required 61,974 voter’s signatures to place the proposal on the Nov. 4 ballot, according to Associated Press reports. Family Council President Jerry Cox said getting the proposed act on the ballot is a significant step for families.
“Arkansas needs to affirm the importance of married mothers and fathers,” he said. “We need to publicly affirm the gold standard of rearing children whenever we can. The state standard should be as close to that gold standard of married mom and dad homes as possible.”
In 2006, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled against a state policy preventing “gays” from becoming foster parents. The Family Council reacted by acquiring enough signatures to place the initiative on the Arkansas ballot.
Arkansas Families First, a self-described coalition of citizens concerned about Arkansas’ children, has threatened to file a lawsuit to prevent the ban from being placed on the ballot. The group says the ban discriminates against unmarried couples and would “deny loving homes to the children who need them most.”
Debbie Willhite, a representative of Arkansas Families First, said the organization has discovered several invalid signatures on the petition. The group questions the constitutionality of the ban.
According to the report, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is against the proposed ban, but he admitted it is likely to prevail in a legal challenge.
In 2004, Family Council successfully passed an Arkansas constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Its proposals receive support from several churches.