Wednesday, November 19, 2008

LGBT Adoption

As the United States voted the first African African-American into office, the state of Arkansas joined Florida, Utah and Mississippi in banning unmarried couples from adopting. The ban, of course, extends to LGBT couples. This is especially disheartening news for a state in which there are "three times as many children who need homes as people willing to adopt or foster them" according to Brett Kincaid, campaign director for Arkansas Families First. Despite the result, a survey conducted by the University of Arkansas indicated that 55 percent of voters in the state opposed the ban. Public critics included former President Bill Clinton. The strongest support came from conservatives, whose grassroots efforts helped the measure to pass with nearly 57 percent of the vote.

Adoption bans have been passed under different phraseology in every state that has supported such measures. Florida and Mississippi explicitly prohibit adoption by LGBT couples, whereas Utah prevents all unmarried cohabitated couples from adopting. Arkansas’ measures are closer to those passed in Utah, as they prevent all unmarried couples from adopting, regardless of sexual orientation. As of 2006, nearly 9,000 children in Arkansas remained in foster care, with 216 "aging out" of the system. It is unfortunate that, in a state whose foster care system desperately needs help, legislation has been passed that does not even represent public opinion. Consequently, measures based more upon political ideologies than common sense have once again limited the possibilities for foster children to find a permanent home.

No comments: