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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.


Judge overturns state adoption law


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.

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Information for this article was contributed by The Associated Press.

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  • Goodman
    April 16, 2010 at 10:47 p.m.

    I'm sure there will be many to slam me for my post, but that's of so little concern to me. Reading this thread, it appears so many of the wicked have chosen to write tonight. I do pity you; you are deceived. As a former foster parent who adopted two children, I know the system first-hand. No "Christian" (sorry Arkie Mom) would support such an evil decision. Children should be raised by a married heterosexual couple. It's just moral. Not only that, it just makes good sense. Sodomites cannot breed; they can only recruit. Let us never bring up children in a world that teaches faggotry is right and good. Let us never raise our children in an atmosphere that belittles marriage, i.e. unmarried heterosexuals. This judge is legislating from the bench. The people--57% of them to be exact--voted this into place. I thought the motto around here was "The people rule." Guess the judge will strike that down next. I find it troubling that this judge would choose to go against the majority and side with the sodomites and dogs of this state. May he be repaid by a Higher Authority one day.

  • Goodman
    April 16, 2010 at 10:50 p.m.

    Nurse? Please tell me that's just a name and not a description. Just how stupid can one person be and live? Jesus went and fellowshipped with other religions??? SAY WHAT??? Get YOUR facts straight. Wow, I am ashamed of you.

  • ARAgitator
    April 16, 2010 at 11:13 p.m.

    OK quiet - gotcha!!! THIS proves what a jump-to-conclusion absent FACTS from a Religionist wingnut who can't see the speck in my eye for the beam in her/his!! I am 70 years old, married twice (to women both times!) with 2 children (their mother died after we'd been married over 21 years) and two step-children - all adults now, none of whom are gay or lesbian AND it wouldn't matter a whit if any/all WERE! My wife (of 25 years) is a devout Catholic (a group I suspect you believe to be a cult), who loves her Church and cringes about the "leadership" that is so out-of-touch with their flock, and responsible for unthinkable crimes against children. I am a Christian AND that has absolutely nothing to do with public policy. My wife has a bumper sticker: ":Democrat and Christian - You CAN be both." I am not now, nor have never been a Democrat. I left the R Party when I realized that the "fundamentals" that they espouse are in many cases the OPPOSITE of what they do (see Nixon, Richard; Raygun, Ronald; Bush Lite). I was a Barry Goldwater (who educated himself and supported gay rights!) Republican; todays versions are imposters who couldn't carry his Kleenex.

    That you are SO arrogant, pious, overbearing and WRONG - that because I know gay people to be JUST like the rest of us, who are creatures of the God you misrepresent, and haven't "chosen" anything except to be who they are, that I am gay. I know Baptist gays who were tormented their entire childhood KNOWING they were "different" and having to put up with Morons like you, tried to "pray themselves straight" which is impossible (and why Ted Haggard, for example, is a FRAUD!). They seldom truly get over the trauma of their childhood that MANY choose suicide to get away from haters like you and the self-loathing you attempt to put on them!

    You answered NONE of my questions because you have no answers, only blind allegiance to your warped view of the Bible, and like most Christian Taliban run away from ANY & ALL "facts" to blindly pursue HATE for those you fear. You are also a fraud, and a truly disturbed one at that. I'll pray for YOU to be able to eject the cement from between your ears. Wanna know anything else about me? Just ask. Try answering my questions and come down from your self-serving pulpit, please. Rational people want to hear something besides narrow fundamentalist soundbites/claptrap - like a FACT or a citation of your claims, etc. Like the total LIES that homosexuality is a "disease," a "lifestyle," a "choice," needs to be "repented" from - ad nauseam! A closed mind is a terrible waste; hopefully you have NO influence over the beliefs of others.

  • ARAgitator
    April 16, 2010 at 11:22 p.m.

    I am still SO PROUD that the overwhelming opinion here is supportive of Judge Piazza's decision - in spite of the know-nothing Religionists who always show up to prove their primary attribute (other than stupidity) is arrogance. Willful ignorance is an abomination unto a civilized, SECULAR society!! The Constitution rules, go back into your churches and YOU repent!

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    April 16, 2010 at 11:26 p.m.


  • ARAgitator
    April 16, 2010 at 11:31 p.m.

    (sorry) but before you go, answer this ONE question that you always avoid: What part of "ALL" do you not understand? THANKS Jack, same to ya'!! ;>) In this we are a perfect example of what should be the tool of choice in all matters of public policy: Let's start with what we can AGREE on, and go from there.

  • ladybabybud
    April 17, 2010 at 12:06 a.m.

    This day and time there are people that make choices that makes them happy. Everybody doesn't do like others. There are gay, lisso, and then their are people that just want to live together, some have raised their own, but then there are women and some men that can not have children, but everyone has love to give and just because they decided to live different the DHS says they are unfit. I'm a single lady that was not able to have children. If I wanted to share my love with a child and have a live in boyfriend, OH DHS would have a cow. Boyfriend would have to move out, even if his was part of the finances that payed to keep his family a float. Children need both man and man, women and women, even if it was man and women not married. This law was really stupid, when most children are abused in all kinds of homes,(their own homes). But their are people in this country would do anything to share their love with children that have no homes or no safe place to go to, but DHS and goverment think that they are right, about USA kids, But when Americans decide to go to another country to bring kids from other counrties, (knowing that each child might have problems), But when they get tired of putting up with these troubled children, they just send them back where they came from, the child is still part of a family and they just get thrown out in to the streets where they came from. But Children in the USA, are from the country that someone wanting to adopted, but american children seem like their not as important as overseas children. All children have problems and Americans should take care of their own before they try to take care of other countries. I thought each to his own, and if you live in a country that the goverment uses their money for the kids and want think twice, to go buy stuff for their families and kids on the streets, doing what ever they can to just live. Those countries like that need to be on the begging streets to see how long they would last.

  • LivingColor
    April 17, 2010 at 12:20 a.m.

    The "will of the people" is that the Constitution gives us liberties that do not depend on the opinion of the majority or the minority. This law burdened those fundamental rights - of adults and of children -more than would be necessary to protect kids. It is unconstitutional, whether a majority likes it or not. That's why we have a constitution - to protect from the tyranny of the majority, see?

    If you don't want your kids adopted by a gay person, then leave them to someone else, but don't tell me how to raise my kids or who should raise them should something happen to me. If I want my brother and his girlfriend to raise them, or my brother and his husband to raise them, that's between me, my family, my God, and a judge who'll make sure they are fine potential parents. The Family Council and its ilk has no business telling me what to do with my kids or telling kids who need homes what is best for them - they aren't experts on child welfare - they're experts on their own opinions and that's all they are experts on. They can have their, but they can't force them on my by limiting my rights.

    Yes there are restrictions on adoption and foster care, but even someone who has contributed to the delinquency of a minor can foster or adopt in this state. People convicted of other crimes can foster and adopt. This ban was against people who have done nothing wrong under the law. It made no sense whatsoever.

    This law didn't mean kids would have Ward and June Cleaver instead of Adam and Steve - it meant kids would have no home instead of a good home with people who are not married or cannot marry in this state. Hatred like that shown by the Family Council gives religion a bad name and they need to stop trying to come between kids and families who will care for them, and in particular, trying to invoke God to justify what they do.

  • humble
    April 17, 2010 at 1:49 p.m.

    Hate in the name of God. This is not something new. Its been going on forever.

  • AlvinL
    April 17, 2010 at 6:20 p.m.

    Here we go again. The real problem with quiet4us2 and goodman is that you are so narrow minded bigots full of hatred, you can't see past your own nose! Quite4us2 needs to repent of their hatred and bigtory. No one with that much hate will ever enter Heaven. You can not love some one you can't see and hate someone you can see.....Being gay is not somehting one can repent of. It's how we are! But on the other hand hatred and bigotry is learned! There are children that needs a loving ome. It's bigots like you that "are"the problem. You would rather that all children be in a facitiy than a loving home. We know with all you hatred and bigotry, no child could get it in your home. You and your attitude needs to be "cured" of its hatred and bigotry. You talk about repentance, until you REPENT and CHANGE, the only prayers that God will hear is one of YOUR repentance, no others will get thru until YOU REPENT! Goodman this goes for you too, We are not the sick ones. So, by some logic(and I use the term very spareingly here) if a spouse dies, then their child should be placed somewhere else, becase the surviving parent can not raise a child, because they are now a sibgle parent? Think about, you can't have it both ways The truth is, single people and gay people CAN and DO make great parents! It has always amazed me how narrow minded people can be, by reading some of the comments, it proves that fact. We need to take care of the children first, same rules should apply to all. But it is those narrow mindful, hateful, bigots that ARE the problem! I have been a signle parent, and its hard work, but every child does not necessarily have to be in a heterosexual "marrieda" home. Somewhere, these narrow minded, hatful bigots need to stop so many divorces! Some people don't need to reproduce!