LITTLE ROCK, AR - In a unanimous decision cheered by child welfare advocates nationwide, the Arkansas Supreme Court today struck down a regulation that banned lesbian and gay people from serving as foster parents. The decision ends a seven-year legal battle by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Pointing to the findings of a lower court that overturned the ban, the Court criticized the Child Welfare Agency Review Board's reasons for enacting the regulation, writing, "These facts demonstrate that there is no correlation between the health, welfare, and safety of foster children and the blanket exclusion of any individual who is a homosexual or who resides in a household with a homosexual." The Court went on to say that the state's argument to the contrary "flies in the face" of the scientific evidence about the suitability of lesbian and gay people as foster parents. The Court added that "the driving force behind adoption of the regulation was not to promote the health, safety, and welfare of foster children, but rather based upon the Board's view of morality and its bias against homosexuals."
More information on the case, Howard v. Child Welfare Agency Review Board, including today's decision, can be found online at http://www.aclu.org/lgbt/parenting/12137res20050301.html