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story.lead_photo.caption Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza presides over an arraignment in January 2009. - Photo by Benjamin Krain

A Pulaski County circuit judge has overturned Arkansas’ law banning unmarried couples living together from adopting or fostering children.

Circuit Judge Chris Piazza said Initiated Act One, passed by voters in 2008, constituted an unwarranted invasion of privacy. The law effectively banned gays from adopting or fostering children because they are unable to legally marry in Arkansas.

He said in his two-page ruling that people in “non-marital relationships” are forced to choose between becoming a parent and sustaining that relationship. Piazza wrote that the act was "especially troubling" in how it singled out the "politically unpopular group."

“Due process and equal protection are not hollow words without substance,” he said. “They are rights enumerated in our constitution that must not be construed in such a way as to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people.”

Piazza agreed with claims by families who said the ban lessened the number of available adoptive and foster parents to the point where thousands of children could go without homes.

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Judge overturns state adoption law

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He said the ban cast “an unreasonably broad net” and did not serve the state’s interest.

The act was passed after the state Supreme Court ruled that the Child Welfare Agency Review Board exceeded its authority by approving a regulation banning homosexuals from serving as foster parents. The court ruled in DHS v. Howard that the regulation was based upon morality and bias.

The American Civil Liberties Union then sued the state in December 2008 on behalf of a group of families seeking to overturn the ban.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Thank you for coming to the Web site of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. We're working to keep you informed with the latest breaking news.

Information for this article was contributed by The Associated Press.

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  • ARAgitator
    April 16, 2010 at 7:24 p.m.

    GOOD stuff, kc!!! We know parents as you've just described who adopted outside the country because they felt FORCED to by our bad system.

  • Hogman67
    April 16, 2010 at 7:33 p.m.

    When is having sex in the brown spot normal? No one seems to be able to answer that. Sex is between a man and a woman. Everything else is just sick and insane. Just because a bunch of psychologists gave up trying to make the gays well doesn't mean the rest of us have to accept something that is wrong and it always will be wrong. No way can you justify abnormal sex regardless of what you keep trying to tell yourself. You're sick......get help! This judge is just like the rest of our politicos and is trying to justify someone who is sick and the law never intended us to accept that. Sick Sick Sick

  • NickieD
    April 16, 2010 at 7:33 p.m.

    A broken system that "forces" people to adopt out of country needs to be fixed! Out of country adoption is completely unacceptable. Fix the system, don't go around it by bringing more children into the country.

  • quiet4us2
    April 16, 2010 at 8:41 p.m.

    First how can we get rid of this nut ? Second...gays should not be allowed to adopt. They have a disease. It's called homosexuality. There's only 1 cure...God. Children being raised in that type of horrible lifestyle may grow up thinking being gay is "ok".When in fact it could kill them.Here on earth it would be aids. And no heavenly life if not forgiven. Don't do this to an innocent child. Think of them instead of your own perverted lust. If they pray and repent of their sins they still have time to save themselves from an eternity in Hell. Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. Their lifestyle is right up there alongside pedophiles. These people need to be cured. I pray for them. Now we need them to pray for themselves and ask God to forgive them.

  • dianeb
    April 16, 2010 at 8:57 p.m.

    This horrible law should never have been on the books...thank goodness for this fair ruling! I am proud to be an Arkansan today!!!

  • ARAgitator
    April 16, 2010 at 9:06 p.m.

    "How can we get rid of this nut ?" reveals you to be a hypocrite, and a impenetrable one at that! This isn't about YOU and your warped view of the Bible, it's about "freedom and justice for ALL," as Will Philips a West Fork FIFTH Grader pointed out so well. What do you think gay parents do, anyway? Do you know a single gay person, never mind a parent? Have you spoken to any lately, like the guy who is trying to get Huckabuck to have dinner with him, his partner and their son. Being gay means you have to put up with Neanderthal "thinking" like yours. Being gay is not a sin; being ignorant isn't either, but it probably should be... Your views are anti-American. And willful ignorance is the reason this country is going into the toilet. Disgusting, and you are so PROUD of it... Isn't your kind of pride a sin?

  • fightingforkids
    April 16, 2010 at 9:22 p.m.

    what do you think about dhs keeping grandchildren from g-mom because my husband of 8 years is an illeagal mexican no other reason and the judge agrees

  • quiet4us2
    April 16, 2010 at 10:07 p.m.

    Argitator...you still have time to ask for forgiveness of your horrible disease. Repent. Ask God to forgive you. You haven't said it outright but it's obvious you live that lifestyle. Get help while you can. I'll pray 4u.

  • NurseNtraining
    April 16, 2010 at 10:10 p.m.

    'Children being raised in that type of horrible lifestyle may grow up thinking being gay is "ok".When in fact it could kill them.Here on earth it would be aids. And no heavenly life if not forgiven. Don't do this to an innocent child.'

    .
    All people Make their OWN choice to become christian a long with other religions.. I grew up and found my own way to church. I know a ton of people who where raise one religion and then changed to a different one during college years.. SO for you to say this make you look ignorant. Religion is a choice, just because someone doesnt share the same views as you, doesnt mean they are horrible. It even talks about in the bible how Jesus would go fellowship with people of other religion and learn about them... Get you facts strait, your making real christians look bad.

    As for this law, I am happy about it. There are plenty of people that are not married, either gay or not, that would be a great home for children. Plus, What is marriage now a days anyways? It is so easy to get a divorce, so why shouldnt you be concerned for the children going into married homes also.

  • RetiredOne
    April 16, 2010 at 10:33 p.m.

    Ok, I've followed this story since moving here. My first question, how is this Mr. Cox so influential? I mean, seriously, when he lost his first round against this, he was fully able to re-word this so that direct relatives of children were included to be not able to take care of their own!!! It was also worded so that so many people were confused to the box that they voted for what they thought they were voting against!!!
    I commend this judge for his stance on following the LAW, and not being swayed by the "thoughts" of many.
    As I would like to be "enlightened" on this individuals "leadership", any "direction" would be appreciated. YES, I am a Christian, and one of my biggest "trials" is bigotry!!! Of ANY FORM!! Sincerely, Jim

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