It's all on the table now. Occasional protests to the contrary, the ultra-right fundamentalists at the "Family" Council now make it clear that their initiated act to limit adoption and foster parenting is about punishing gay people, no more or less. If it hurts children, they don't care.
The state's recent hearing about dropping a blanket ban against unmarried couples as foster parents was just a sham, the religionists say. The overwhelming testimony from foster parents, foster children and medical and social service professionals? It can't hold a candle to homophobia.
Don't be confused. The state wants to follow a policy in which -- on a case by case basis and considering every possible factor, including a potential family -- the best decision will be made for a child. If putting the interest of children first is the "gay agenda," as the "Family" Council puts it, sign me up. It's one helluva lot more compassionate than the hateful agenda they're peddling.
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families responds:
LITTLE ROCK – The sole interest of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families is improving the welfare of the state’s most vulnerable children.
Last week we joined several other child advocates, including pediatricians, psychologists and social workers, to testify against the state’s foster-parent restriction against cohabitating adults. Since the rule had never been officially adopted, it was the public’s first chance to comment on it. The research-based testimony of nearly everyone at the hearing convinced Gov. Mike Beebe and Department of Human Services Director John Selig that the arbitrary policy was unfairly limiting the number of good homes available for Arkansas foster children.
The new case-by-case policy has children at the heart of it, not adults.
We’re disappointed to hear that leaders of the Family Council are trying to confuse voters about our mission and about what their ballot measure would do to the state’s children. We know that citizens will vote “no” on Act 1 after hearing what Gov. Beebe and DHS leaders said yesterday: Every foster child deserves to find a family that best meets their needs.