by Max Brantley
It's been sad to read in recent days of contested legislative races around Arkansas in which you'd think the sole issue of importance in our troubled world was which candidate could demonstrate the greatest degree of animus toward gay people.
Anyway, there's a positive flipside. A number of legislators have signed their names to a fund-raiser Monday, Oct. 20, for the campaign against Initiated Act 1. The proposal would throw up new barriers to private adoption and foster parenting by all people, but it's being pushed by "religious" conservatives as part of their anti-gay agenda. If kids are victims, tough..
Details of the fund-raiser at Lilly's Dim Sum are on the jump.
UPDATE: Love this blog. Just got this note from Dennis Young of Texarkana:
Thanks for printing the letter from Stacy. Jerry Cox does not interpret the teachings of Jesus as I do. Dennis
He copied a note he'd sent to Arkansas Families First:
Just read about the Oct 20 Fundraiser on the Arkansas Blog. Attempted to send a contribution on my Visa card, but for some reason it would not take. Therefore, I am mailing my $100 check today to help fight Jerry Cox and his misguided followers. As a former State Representative (93 – 99), I would be most proud for you to add my name to any list of supporters that you might wish to print or publicize at anytime. Thanks for what you are doing. Dennis
UPDATE II: Everybody reads the Arkansas Blog. The Family Council has fired out an e-mail to its supporters begging money for radio ads and quoting information here about the fund-raiser Monday, including the names of those dastardly legislators who put kids first.
We are pleased to invite you to a fundraising event as we kick off Early Voting here in Arkansas! After you go to vote NO on Act 1, come to Lilly’s Dim Sum to visit with some of Arkansas’ finest legislators.
Frmr. U.S. Senator Dale & Betty Bumpers * Congressman Vic Snyder & Betsy Singleton * House Speaker Designate Robbie & Dana Wills * House Majority Leader Steve Harrelson * Sen. Jim and Elise Argue * Rep. David & Amy Johnson * Rep. Kathy Webb & Nancy Tesmer *Sen. Elect Joyce Elliott * Frmr Sen. Jay Bradford and Dr. Robbie Thomas-Knight * Rep. Joan Cash * Frmr. Rep. Sam & Nancy Ledbetter * Rep.Lindsley Smith * Sen. Mary Anne Salmon * Rep. Gene and FaridehShelby * Frmr. Rep. Phil Jackson * Rep. Betty and John Pickett * Rep.Barry & Jeanne Hyde * Rep. Johnnie & Frmr. Rep. Tommy Roebuck *Rep. David Rainey * Rep. Willie Hardy * Rep. Tracy Pennartz * Rep. Gregg Reep * Rep. Rick Saunders * Rep. Robert & Beverly Moore
Lilly’s Dim Sum
11121 N. Rodney Parham Rd.
Little Rock, AR 72212
October 20, 2008
6:00pm ~ 8:00pm
Suggested Contribution $100
Checks can be made payable to Arkansas Families First (www.arkansasfamiliesfirst.org) and mailed to the address below.
PO Box 34191, Little Rock, AR 72203-4191
AD/PR EXEC STACY SELLS INCLUDED THIS NOTE WITH A COPY OF THE INVITATION:
I have been working the past several months as a volunteer with Arkansas Families First. This organization is dedicated to defeating Initiated Act 1, commonly referred to as The Arkansas Adoption and Foster Care Act. While the name sounds harmless, it is actually a very offensive measure. Act 1 would arbitrarily limit the number of foster homes available to at-risk youth, banning all unmarried couples from serving. Additionally, Act 1 would apply to private adoptions in Arkansas. While a bad idea on its premise, Act 1 makes matters even worse by creating mandated government intrusion into private life.
The sponsors of this proposal, The Arkansas Family Council, have made it very clear that this is an attack on the gay and lesbian community. Jerry Cox, their leader, calls their efforts an attempt to “blunt a national gay agenda”. While Act 1 would certainly eliminate gays and lesbian couples from adopting, it also applies to heterosexual couples living out of wedlock. It is a ridiculous act that uses at-risk youth as pawns in a greater political agenda from the far right wing.
Our message all along has been that qualified experts are much better judges of homes suitable for children in the foster care system. Each individual case should be examined on its own unique basis, not subject to a blanket rule that has no rational justification. While this is certainly an attempt to defeat right-wing ideologues in the South, it is even more importantly an attempt to do what is right for the children of Arkansas—especially children without families and home that most need our support.
Most recently an impressive group of retired judges — three of them former Chief Justices of the Arkansas Supreme Court — released a statement in opposition to Act 1. And just last week the Arkansas Department of Human Services reversed an executive order from the previous administration banning unmarried couples from fostering children. A similar measure was defeated in the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2007. Clearly mainstream thought is on our side. Unfortunately our opponents are far from the mainstream, and they are very well organized.
I have attached an invitation to our last big fundraiser in Little Rock. We have had recent success, but there is much money left to be raised! If we are going to prevail in November, we must raise enough money to talk directly to Arkansas voters in their homes. That of course means mass advertising that requires a large investment. If you cannot attend the fundraiser, please consider sending a contribution if you are able to the address listed on the invite. You can also make a contribution on our website, www.arkansasfamiliesfirst.org <http://www.arkansasfamiliesfirst.org/> . As a ballot question committee, we have no limits on the size of contribution. Please pass this invite and information to any friends that you believe may support our cause.
I am hopeful that we can build a groundswell of opposition to Act 1 in the weeks leading up to Election Day. I hope you’ll join me in opposing Initiated Act 1.