The Arkansas Family Council will announce tomorrow its formal decision to mount a petition drive next year to make it illegal for gay people to adopt or be foster parents in Arkansas. Undecided: Whether it will be an initiated act or a constitutional amendment.
Precedents: Florida has banned gay adoption for 30 years and Jerry Cox, director of the Family Council, says that law has withstood court challenge. Utah prohibts cohabiting couples from adopting or being foster parents.
Cox said a final proposal isn't drafted, but it will specifically prohibit same-sex couples from being adoptive or foster parents, not just target cohabiting couples. (They haven't figured out a way yet, presumably, to ban parental rights for a lesbian who bears a child or a gay man who fathers one.)
Cox figures a vote on this will produce the same overwhelming approval that the amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage did.
Cox said lawyers have been working to simplify the proposal from one that failed in a House committee in 2007. "The fewer words you have to work with, the more carefully you have to choose them."
This news will, of course, be a boon to many legislative and other candidates, who know a hot button when they see one. Which is part of the idea, of course. That and, the fact that the potential for a handful of gay parents to form loving nuclear homes is the single remaining problem facing the world today, all the rest having been solved.
Some day, people will look back on this fixation with curiosity and not a small amount of sadness. UNLESS: They are beaten at the polls. I think they are overreaching. I think some national polling data to be released tomorrow will show they are overreaching. I think a concerted effort might make Arkansas safe for tolerance in 2008. But, yes, I've been wrong many times.