by Max Brantley
Arkansas Families First will not file a lawsuit to contest either signatures or the constitutionality of the proposal to ban adoptions or foster parenting in homes with unmarried couples. The group will focus on a campaign to defeat the proposal.
A spokesman said the group found as many as 15,000 signatures that raised questions under technical requirements of the law (unacceptable notarization, signatures of voters from outside a canvasser's county, for example), but the secretary of state's office was using a loose standard for approval, checking only names of voters and their zip codes. A challenge was judged as too steep against devoting resources to the campaign, particularly if the challenge failed.
"The issue is educating Arkansa this is about children, not gays," said Debbie Wilhite, a leader of the effort. "We think we can beat them. Our polling says we can."
A ballot measure in California to ban same-sex marriage could drain some national financial support that otherwise might find its way to Arkansas. But Wilhite said she was confident the campaign would have money for a media campaign, in addition to work by a number of supportive churches, family groups, medical groups and adoption advocates.