By Franki Butler
Last Tuesday night was a historic presidential election, and I’m thrilled with the results, I really am (no, seriously, I was fighting the urge to have a one-woman dance party on my way to class Wednesday). However, my joy is marred by the results of several ballot measures, including the sweep of gay marriage bans in Arizona, Florida, and California. My feelings on these heinous acts of bigotry cannot be expressed in language appropriate for this blog, so I’ll point you to a much more eloquent post by Thomas of Feministe, and turn instead to another disappointing election result: the passing of Arkansas Act 1.
Arkansas Act 1 bans unmarried couples from adopting children. It’s really just a ploy to keep gay couples from adopting children, because obviously someone in a homosexual union shouldn’t be able to start a family; that would be too close to equality. The measure also keeps straight, unmarried couples from adopting, but was targeted specifically against gay couples. Let’s examine this for a moment.
The people of Arkansas thought a measure to keep gay couples from adopting was a good idea. Really, guys? The state of Arkansas had over 7,193 children in foster care in the fiscal year 2007 and hoped to remove 930 of them from the system through adoption; of those, 357 were actually placed in adoptive homes. For those of you who aren’t mathematically inclined, that’s 573 children still in the system, waiting for parents. And the good citizens of Arkansas just decided that they’d rather keep those children in foster care than live in a home with gay parents. Now, a gay parent is fine; the law only discriminates against those co-habitating with sexual partners to whom they are not married. Of course, in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, that gives one the choice of living with his/her partner, or adopting a child.
The state is basically telling its LGB citizens what kinds of families they’re allowed to have. This is not okay. This is not a fair treatment of citizens. This is a state keeping children from being placed in good homes because of some warped idea that good “family values” come only from happily married heterosexual couples. This is, quite simply, bullshit.
Read the Arkansas DHS Annual Report in its entirety here