Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What happens in Arkansas may happen elsewhere

Something is presently happening in Arkansas that could negatively affect lgbts in the future:

The Little Rock, AR based organization largely responsible for placing a constitutional ban against gay marriage in Arkansas in 2004, is back in 2008 with an anti-gay adoption ban.

On Monday, the Family Council Action Committee (FCAC) met a deadline to submit 61,974 signatures to the Secretary of State to place a proposed law banning unmarried couples from adopting children on the November ballot. While the initiative bans both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, the organization's website lists banning gay and lesbian couples from adoption as a goal of the law.

The Arkansas Adoption Act makes it illegal for adoptive and foster care children to be placed in homes with individuals who cohabit with a sexual partner. Single people, living alone, would be free from the restrictions.

Arkansas did initially bar gays from adopting or becoming foster parents before the state court struck down the law. Then the legislature wouldn't pass a law prohibiting lgbts from adopting or becoming foster parents.

So now some folks are taking the "let the people decide through a vote" route. And while they have tried to word the law to make it seem that its not an attack on lgbts, they freely admit that it is:

“[The Arkansas Adoption Act] is about two things. It's about child welfare, first of all. Secondly, it is to blunt a homosexual agenda that's at work in other states and that will be at work in Arkansas unless we are proactive about doing something about it,” FCAC Executive Director Jerry Cox told Fox16 News.

This attempt is nothing new. After their success in banning gay marriage, the anti-gay industry have long had their sights on making it more difficult for lgbts to be foster or adoptive parents. It is obvious that Arkansas is a testing ground. If they are successful there, then they are going to try the same thing in other states.

What gets me is this part:

The FCAC lists three primary reasons for the law: For the safety of children, to increase the number of prospective homes, and to “blunt a homosexual agenda.”

Increase the number of homes? How can you increase the number of homes that will take in children by prohibiting potential foster and adoptive parents?

Sadly, that question is not answered by the FCAC in the article.

And that is the crux of the fallacy involving denying lgbts the right to be foster and adoptive parents.

According to the National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice and Permanency Planning:

510,000 = Number of children in foster care on September 30, 2006

129,000 = Number of children waiting to be adopted on September 30, 2006

51,000 = Number of children adopted from the public foster care system in FY 2006

And according to the Department of Health and Human Services' s Administration for Children & Families, 984 Arkansas children were waiting to be adopted in 2005.

But I bet the FCAC law doesn't address that point.

What we get from them is the same talking point the anti-gay industry shovels about children in foster care:

Children have a right to a mother and father.

But (and here is the rub) the FCAC potential law does not guarantee that children in foster care will be placed in this type of home. In fact, it does not guarantee that children in foster care will be placed into a home at all.

You see, this talking point is not designed to do anything but create the premise that somehow two-parent heterosexual households are being discriminated against for the sake of same-sex households.

And according to national figures, this notion just isn't true.

Children don't necessarily need a home that appeals to someone's limited view of "family.

Children need homes where they can receive love and support.

And there are no studies that say they cannot receive love and support from a same-sex home.

But thanks to FCAC, Arkansas children in foster care may not get any home at all.