Even in a democratic society, some rights are too important to be left to popular vote. The founders of the United States of America knew that, and wrote these rights into the Constitution, forever protecting them from temporary majorities.
Opponents of Act 1 of 2008 have properly turned to the courts to assure that all citizens are given the equal treatment before the law that the Constitution promises. Act 1, prohibiting unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children, was approved by voters at the general election in November. It is aimed primarily at gay couples. Supporters of Act 1 would rather deny a good home to Arkansas children who need one than to grant equality to people whose sexual preference they disapprove of.
But this is not a decision they're entitled, or qualified, to make. There's no valid scientific evidence that gay couples — or unmarried heterosexuals either — cannot be good parents. Examples abound demonstrating the opposite. Adults and children from such homes are among the plaintiffs in the suit that has been filed in Pulaski Circuit Court.
Decisions on who is suitable to adopt or foster children, and who isn't, should be made by trained, unbiased social workers evaluating each case independently, free of the prejudice that Act 1 would impose.
What they're about
Men who propose to limit women's rights are low creatures to begin with, and even lower when they claim to be acting out of regard for women. The same is true of white people who discriminate against black people and say they're doing it for the good of the black people. And, in the instant case, of corporate bosses who harass workers in the name of worker protection. An honest oppressor owns up to his intentions — “I hurt you to help me. Get used to it.”
Such candor is lacking in the campaign against a bill that would shield employees from hostile employers while trying to form a union. (Money, on the other hand, is something the anti-union campaign has plenty of. Big business sees to that.)
Federal law now requires an election on the question of whether workers will join a union. The labor-backed bill before Congress would allow workers to go union by signing a card, making their choice before management has a chance to intimidate them.
Anti-union ads, like a recent one aimed at Sen. Blanche Lincoln, blather about the “secret ballot,” hardly the sponsors' chief concern. They're more desirous of low wages than secret ballots. Up to now, they've had their way in Arkansas; ours remains an anti-union, low-income state. Lincoln and Sen. Mark Pryor could vote for change.