Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Gay Family Victory in Arkansas Legislature With HRC Assistance

Gays scored a victory in Arkansas on March 27 when a bill was killed that would have outlawed gay adoptions and the gay blogosphere is starting to buzz about it.

First, some background from the ACLU of Arkansas.

Click here for the text of the actual bill.

This is how the Arkansas GOP supported the bill:

This bill merely affirms what social science has revealed again and again - the best environment to raise children is when a mother and a father are joined in marriage. Even the infamous Massachusetts Supreme Court, in a dissenting opinion to their notorious same-sex "marriage" case, argued that a mother and a father represent the best chance to raise healthy and successful children. [...]

Some facts to consider:
· A study of convicted child molesters, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that "86 percent of offenders against males described themselves as homosexual or bisexual" (
W. D. Erickson, M.D., et al., in Archives of Sexual Behavior 17:1, 1988).
· The rate of homosexual versus heterosexual child sexual abuse is staggering," said Reisman, who was the principal investigator for an $800,000 Justice Department grant studying child pornography and violence. "Abel's data of 150.2 boys abused per male homosexual offender finds no equal (yet) in heterosexual violations of 19.8 girls." See more staggering statistics at this link that could be used in emails or letters to committee members.

Now let's move on to the good news, starting with this from one gay blogger in Arkanas:

I've received word from several people that SB959 failed to pass the House Judiciary Committee today. SB959 would have banned 'homosexuals' and cohabitating couples from adopting or foster children.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Womack and backed by the Arkansas Family Council. Jerry Cox, Executive Director of the Family Council, was a co-author of the SB959. This is the same organization responsible for the Arkansas Marriage Amendment, which banned same-sex marriage and anything that resembles it in Arkansas. In fact Pam Adcock, staff attorney for the Family Council, defended the constitutionality putting the Arkansas Marriage Amendment on the ballot in the Arkansas Supreme Court and won that case.

Many thanks go out to queers statewide for bringing this adoption bill to a halt. But don't expect the Family Council to let this issue disappear.

And this is the most comprehensive blog report, from a lesbian named Randi in Little Rock who shocks me because she mentions that an HRC field representative was part of the coalition that defeated the antigay bill. Her report is so good I'm reposting much of it:

Today SB959, a bill that would have banned lesbians, gays and cohabitating couples in a sexual relationship from adopting or being foster parents was stopped in the Arkansas House Judiciary Committee. Senator Womack was forced to present the bill without a House sponsor. At the end of the testimony and Senator Womack's closing remarks the bill failed to move forward due to a failure to obtain a do-pass motion.
The efforts of Representative Kathy Webb could be seen throughout the session and were a cornerstone of the defeat. We also had assistance from others on the Committee, again directly attributable to Representative Webb. Also supporting Representative Webb was an amazing coalition of Arkansas groups and individuals who opposed this bill. The hard work of all of the collaborating groups was clearly evident as we presented our opposition to this heinous legislation.
The groups included CAR, the ACLU, Stonewall Democrats, Arkansas Citizens First Congress, and the Arkansas Equality Yahoo group out of NW Arkansas. Sarah Scanlon a Regional Field Director for the Human Rights Campaign was also on hand for the past two weeks providing the support of HRC. [...]
The audience was clearly a majority in their opposition to the bill. Many of them CAR members and supporters. The organized opposition to the bill included testimony from a pediatrician representing the Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Juvenile Court Judge Joyce Warren, two teenagers, one with two lesbian moms who have been together for 17 years, the other teen lives with her grandmother who is a lesbian (this is CAR's own Director and her granddaughter), a staff attorney for the ACLU, the non-biological mother of one of the teens, CAR's Director, an out public school teacher with children, and a community activist.
There was a last minute attempt to amend the bill to allow homosexual blood relatives to adopt or provide foster care. This amendment, an attempt by the opposition to make the bill alittle more palatable was soundly defeated. [...]
We just received word that when the Judiciary Committee reconvened this afternoon there was a last ditch effort to revive the bill. Representative Woods said that he forgot to make a do-pass motion in the earlier session. There were only three votes and once again the bill was unable to move forward.
***NOTE: I am so proud of all who stepped up to defeat this bill. I will always be grateful for those who have made it possible for CAR to exist and for me to serve as CAR's director and to do this work in Arkansas. And for that special someone, without whom none of this would have been possible; you know who you are! Mil Gracias! Con todo mi corazon!

Congratulations to our gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender family down in Arkansas on defeating this anti-gay family bill. Gay America salutes you and our political allies for standing up and endorsing equality for all of us.


Homes for Sale in Arkansas

Interested in Arkansas homes for sale? You can get information on the real estate environment from the government. Its a great time to buy homes for sale by owner in Arkansas.

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